PNC must take full blame
Guyana Chronicle
March 8, 2002

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I notice that the PNC has been criticising the Government on the Republic Day jailbreak in which a prison officer was killed and another one is in a serious condition, still battling for her life.

The PNC in their news conference last week placed the blame entirely on the government for the escape of the criminals, and the PNC television stations have been going on and on about this incident.

However, the credibility of the PNC is at a very low ebb when it comes to the issue of crime and criminals in this country. To begin with one remembers the PNC leader, Mr Hoyte and other top Party functionaries attending the funeral service of the notorious bandit, `Blackie' London. Speeches were delivered at that service by PNC operatives, which clearly elevated Blackie to a high ground in the eyes of the Party.

For months following the death of Blackie, the PNC media continued to promote him as a hero of not only Afro-Guyanese, but all of Guyana. Other PNC affiliated organisations, such as the African Cultural and Development Organisation (ACDA) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) clearly put a racial context to the bandit's death as well as the capture/deaths of other notorious marauders.

This racial interpretation of the elimination of criminal elements within the society continues unabated, as even recently there was a letter on so-called "extra-judicial killings" in the Stabroek News.

Concomitantly, the PNC campaign of urban terrorism launched after the 1997 elections targeted, among other groups, members of the disciplined forces. Police, army and prison personnel became special targets on the PNC terrorist guerrillas when they did not succumb to the naked appeal of "kith and kin". Members of the security forces faced innumerable attacks, provocation, molestation and contempt from the PNC mobsters, gangsters and criminal elements. The homes and families of members of the security forces even came under armed attacks on the opposition party's terrorist campaign reached new heights (or lows).

Simultaneously, the PNC has waged a relentless campaign against alleged `police brutality'. It is being claimed that the governing PPP/C is using the police force to intimidate and suppress Afro-Guyanese by selectively eliminating Afro-youths. The opposition party does not take into consideration the dangerous nature of police work, the ruthless nature of the criminals, the fact that criminals are most often armed, individual problems and differences, depression and anger within the force at the unjustified allegations levelled against it, etc.

Most probably the PNC campaign has emboldened the criminal elements to carry on with their nefarious activities. This view is reinforced when one recalls that the PNC freely and deliberately used criminal elements in their election violence. The well-known thugs and assassins were captured on camera but PNC never repudiated them or sought to expunge them from their midst. Their `skills and talents' were effectively used by the opposition in their attempt to overthrow the legally elected PPP/C Government.

This sordid utilization of criminal resources by the PNC cannot now be swept under the rug. These things are too fresh in our minds. Now they seek to lay the blame on the Government for the jailbreak and the murder of the officer.

They must know that this is what they have been cultivating and nurturing all the time, i.e. encouraging criminal elements to become bolder and more ruthless in their activities. This is what their urban terrorism, launched under the guise of street protests, has achieved. Didn't some Afro-Guyanese writers in the press warn the PNC that that is what they were/are doing to Afro-youths in this country, i.e. that they were/are criminalising these youths by training them in the undesirable art of violence and crime?

Now the chickens have come home to roost and the PNC seeks to shift the blame onto the Government. The PNC must own up to the part it played in spawning the rise in criminal activities in this country. And it must stop shedding crocodile tears when peaceful and decent citizens of this country fall victims to the diabolical plot it inflicted on this nation. The PNC must take full blame for this.