PRESS RELEASE GUYANESE MUST PULL TOGETHER TO COMBAT THE CRIME WAVE People's National Congress Reform Congress Reform, Sophia, Georgetown, Guyana. Saturday, August 20, 2005

The PNCR is deeply disturbed over the recent spate of murders and violent robberies in Georgetown and other regions. No sooner is the public thrown into grief and alarm over the latest wanton act of criminality, that another vicious crime is committed. As we continue, for instance, to experience shock and sorrow over the pitiless slaying of city businessman, Jacob Rambarran, early this week, terror struck again this Friday morning, with the robbery at two city businesses: A.H&L Kissoon and Singers Ltd.

If as a nation we fail to pull together to collectively fight crime, the quality of life, such as it is in Guyana, will further descend into disorder and despair. The fight against crime is a battle the law-abiding and decent majority must win, for crime affects all of us. Criminals have no codes, no sympathies and no compunctions. They will do whatever it takes and will attack whomever it takes to further their selfish and murderous objectives.

There are no shortages of potential solutions to address this problem. Many ordinary citizens and a large number of social and political stakeholders have advanced, out of a genuine desire to help, a multitude of recommendations. The report of the Disciplined Forces Commission constitutes an outstanding manifestation of this broad-based contribution. The fact, however, that crime waves have increased in frequency and deadliness in the last several years supports the conclusion that solutions have been ineffectively implemented or not implemented at all. There is visibly no comprehensive and pro-active government plan to tackle the problem. The few government crime-fighting initiatives (if indeed the word can be so stretched) have been reactive, belated and, in the case of the Gajraj death squads, entirely thoughtless and reckless. Indeed, one of the fall-outs of the death squad phenomenon is most likely fuelling the current spate of robberies and murders, i.e., the creation of a criminal enterprise, staffed by hired killers, drug dealers, gun runners and others who believe they are immune from the law.

One of the dilemmas the PNCR and others must confront is that in calling for a national response to the crime wave, we seek to reach out to a government that is reluctant to accept that its own actions and inactions have caused much of the problem. We call on the PPP/C to look beyond its compulsive self-centeredness and seek to respond to the crime problem in a holistic and inclusive manner. If we do not cross this barrier, not much can be done in the interim to solve the problem. In the meantime, while we wait on the government to transcend its inadequacies, we call on Guyanese to take every reasonable precaution to safeguard their lives and properties. In the present circumstances, the price for personal safety can never be too high.

We continue to place our confidence in the Commissioner of Police and his hardworking men and women. They can count on our support and cooperation. We call on the public to do likewise. Despite whatever misgivings we may have about the performance of the force, this is a battle they must win on our behalf. On the other hand, the Police Force must make urgent efforts to win the confidence and cooperation of the public. As we have always advocated, good community relationships are an invaluable component in intelligence gathering and crime fighting. Many citizens still harbour serious doubts about confiding information to the Police Force. The Commissioner must address these concerns.

The PNCR extends its condolences to the families and individuals who in one way or other have been directly touched by the current spate of crime.

The party believes that the fight against crime is a battle Guyanese can win given the right national leadership.

People's National Congress Reform
Congress Reform, Sophia,
Georgetown, Guyana.
Saturday, August 20, 2005