Standing up against all forms of criminality Editorial
Guyana Chronicle
November 2, 2002

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THE crime wave that has hit Guyana over the last seven months has virtually had the nation in a psychological siege and trauma, severely cramping the ability of Guyanese to use their innovative and enterprising skills for the benefit of themselves and the nation as a whole.

Guyanese, known worldwide for their hospitality, now look over their shoulders with understandable suspicion at others, at even those they may be familiar or acquainted with.

They are much more reserved and cautious - that free `happy go lucky' attitude characteristic of the Guyanese culture has now been severely tested.

The psychological scars and wounds that have been inflicted on the relatives and families of the many security personnel and civilians personally hit by the crime wave will remain indelible on their minds, causing immeasurable and excruciating mental torture and suffering.

At the same time, those who have not been direct victims of the frightening and terror filled situation are asking themselves: "Who is next?"

And that in itself is frightening and tortuous.

The overwhelming majority of Guyanese are peace-loving people and they are in a state of shock from the unprecedented gruesome killings that have characterised these last few months.

Everyone is asking: "When will this situation end?"

The law enforcement agencies have made some recent advances in the anti-crime fight and all citizens of goodwill are hoping that they succeed soon in ending this situation.

As the year winds down, there are several religious holidays to be observed and these observances traditionally cut across ethnicity, political persuasions and religious backgrounds, with most Guyanese genuinely treating this period as one of reconciliation, peace and the sharing of joy and goodwill.

Very shortly Hindus will be observing Deepavali, and while it originates from Hinduism, in Guyana the festival of lights has evolved into truly a national spectacle, with Guyanese from all walks of life participating in the traditional motorcades and various cultural events to mark the occasion.

Muslims will soon be embarking on the month of Ramadhan (fasting) and during next month it will be the turn of their Christian brothers and sisters as they observe Christmas.

All these religious observances have become national in nature to a large extent and this is much to the credit of the maturity and tolerance of all Guyanese.

But these are anxious times and many are fervently praying that the tide turns soon and that there is an end to the violent crime wave and a return to peace and security.

Sadly, the largest Hindu organisation in Guyana, the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha, yesterday announced that the annual Deepavali motorcade from Georgetown to LBI on the East Coast Demerara will not take place this year due to the prevailing circumstances.

This hugely popular and colourful spectacle, often touted as a national tourism attraction, will be missed by the thousands who have come to regard it as a main item on the national cultural calendar.

The cancellation of the motorcade this year is a sign of how devastating has been the impact of the crime wave.

Life cannot go on like this and all peace-loving Guyanese will have to link now more than ever with the security forces to bring an early end to the scourge that is threatening the very fabric of this nation.

It is the duty of all Guyanese to take an unambiguous and unequivocal stand against all forms of criminality.