Guyana Chronicle
December 4, 2002

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Urban bandit-terrorists have struck again in the heart of Georgetown, our Capital City. The main target was Gobin’s Cambio and Store in Regent Street, which was invaded and robbed of booty worth millions.

One of the terrorists, in cold blood, cowardly gunned down an unarmed policeman, who was directing traffic at the busy junction of Regent and King Streets. The young cop was shot full in the chest. Several civilians were injured as bullets were sprayed in every direction.

The mid-morning, daylight attack was reminiscent of that on Commerce House Cambio earlier this year, which became a prelude for a campaign of killings, robberies, car jacking and kidnappings.

The difference in yesterday’s attack was that the targeted Cambio is strategically located opposite a petrol station. The deployment of “channa bombs” at that gas station was intended to provide a massive diversion for an escape.

The nature of the diversion suggests that that was no spontaneous event. It was timed and executed by a well-trained guerrilla force. It had required intelligence gathering and planning. The get-away was coordinated. Accomplices were strategically located.

There would be many versions of what happened, and our news coverage would provide the details of sporadic shootings along Regent Street, through Campbellville, and along the East Coast Railway Embankment road. Bullets were flying along the escape route as security personnel joined in a hot pursuit of the terrorists.

But what would not be captured is the full extent to which the attack has left Georgetown paralysed. The morbid display of naked force chased holiday shoppers off the streets, forced several business places to close, and dampen the momentum which, only hours before, had promised that Georgetown would enjoy a bountiful and peaceful Christmas.

Bandits and political extremists always, and everywhere, make an incendiary combination. The discovery of a channa bomb factory late October would have given warning that a sinister partnership plot was in place.

The intended explosion of channa bombs was to create an event of sensational terrorism. This could provide elements with extra-legal agendas an opportunity to further destabilise the country.

Both the governing People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and the opposition People’s National Congress (PNC) have a common duty to the Guyanese people to facilitate public safety. When next they meet at the Social Partners’ Encounter they should seize this new cycle of public terror to bring an end to the prevarication on a joint communiqué on crime.

The security forces have again been targeted. They have to find a swift response. No quarters must be given to the murderous horde.

In the final analysis public safety is guaranteed when the entire society treat deadly crimes as a zero-sum game. It must end in the defeat of criminals.

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