Citizens must help the police
Guyana Chronicle
March 9, 2002

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I have been living in Guyana for almost three years since my return from abroad and have been privileged to have met some of the most wonderful people in the world, and some of the worst behaved in the world, right here in beautiful Guyana. Those details we could get into at another time. For the purposes of this letter and the message I wish to send I will ask that focus be on the Guyana Police Force.

The Police Force has been, for the longest while, and still is, criticised for the way in which many members function. What is worse is the fact that police have been brutally slain, on the job, and those very people who are so quick to criticise did not even voice a word of sympathy, publicly.

Guyana is fast becoming a `Dodge City’, with all the robberies, jailbreaks, shootouts and killings and there seems to be no end to it. Hence the reason for my letter. We, the members of the public should come out and publicly support our Police Force. We must, because we have the capabilities to do it, force some of the sick and selfish politicians to recognise that for a small salary, there are men and women who are willing to risk their lives to serve their country and, even though there may be a few `bad eggs’ in the bunch, let us not condemn them blindly.

I am not getting into names because there is a profound statement that will not allow me to, at this stage. It says, `let’s not fix the blame, let’s fix the problem’. We can fix it by sending cards to police stations, assisting with the upkeep of stations in our communities, writing letters to the press thanking the police whenever members function admirably (like on the weekend at Splashmin or, more recently Mash), send flowers or get well cards on occasions.

On that note why not have services at various places of worship for Prison Officer Winfield?

A young mother, in the prime of her life is fighting for her life; a young officers died in the line of duty. I wonder how all those dedicated critics of the Police would react if those escapees are in a shoot-out with the Police or the Army and are themselves killed?

The Police have a job to do and those of us who criticise them should give our criticisms serious thought - or would you prefer the lawlessness that we are experiencing to continue?

To His Excellency, President Jagdeo, I asked that you consider paying police ranks more and make them better equipped to combat crime. In an effort to appease the critics and provide a more cautionary police force, where there is better accountability, there should be an independent inquiry done every time someone is killed by the Police.

Have a `special investigations unit’ (SIU) set up for that purpose. These are suggestions.