THE KILLING FIELDS


The first is to the Police and the public and it is a middle punching the air. The second is to the rest of the criminal community which remains alive and it is this: Don’t mess with us. The third is to the public and it is this: Go to hell.The quoting of crime statistics to show that the Police are on top of the situation does not resonate with the public when terror of this magnitude is unleashed by criminals. While there have been spectacular successes by the Police in defeating the criminal terrorist war unleashed on the Guyanese people in 2002, no one can rationally argue that the Police are on top of the crime situation when killings of this type can be committed with impunity. Guyana is a poor country but is a route for the export of drugs to Europe and North America. Guyana is not the only such country. The entire Caribbean region, particularly the larger countries, have become victims of marauding criminal gangs involved in the import and export of drugs. The quantity of drugs and amount of money involved are large enough to kill for. So that when drug dealers fall out, bullets fly. We have seen time and again that the acquisition of money is never enough to feed the human ego. We may set out only to acquire wealth, legitimately or illegitimately. Once acquired, however, power and/or influence over others are inevitably sought. In the sordid ghettoes of the criminal underworld, power and influence are purchased firstly, over other criminals. If money doesn’t work, then fear, intimidation or raw power is applied. Once obtained, this power is violently displayed when there is any deviation from the criminal code. The well known criminal, ‘Taps,’ who fathered a child while serving a term of imprisonment, is alleged to have stolen drugs from a dealer and was killed. Missing drugs may be responsible for the current spate of killings, according to the Police.  The stealing of drugs by criminals from criminals appear to be such a serious violation from the exalted code that the punishment is public execution.The Guyana Police faces two major objectives in its effort to reduce crime, namely, to stop the flow of arms into Guyana and to dismantle the drug gangs. I’m sure that they are aware of this. While I’m not in a position to advise, I can say that two laws have been passed recently which gives the Police significant weapons in its fight against organized crime. This is the law in relation to the possession of illegal firearms and the law permitting wiretapping. One would have thought that this process is already in place. It is therefore quite a surprise that the Police should be issuing wanted bulletins for persons whose names are familiar. If the Police are unaware of where they are and are not in a position to invite them in then we are not in good shape, unless of course, the public naming of the persons is an attempt to convince the public that they are doing something.There is no point passing laws if no use is going to be made of them. Passing them and then having them merely decorating the statute books is just a waste of time. Let’s hope that they are being made use of. There is an important legal weapon which is missing from the body of laws which are available to the Police. The law in relation to conspiracy needs to be urgently to be amended, codified and upgraded. Modern crime needs modern weapons. Laws relating to conspiracy remain in the dark ages and are wholly inadequate to deal with drug gangs and their associates. Such a law which would make conviction easier, if in place, would supplement the wire tapping law once it is activated.Of importance also is a law to ‘ensure’ the co-operation of witnesses. In Guyana a witness can choose not to say anything if he or she is known to have witnessed a crime or have evidence of a crime. Failing or refusing to co-operate with the Police in bringing criminals to justice is a serious offence in some jurisdictions and incurs jail time. (www.conversationtree.gy).


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