WPA urges national plan to deal with crisis
Stabroek News
September 1, 2002

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The Working People's Alliance (WPA) says that failing governmental initiative to take a national approach to the current crisis, it is calling on all social partners to work out a plan around which the wider society could be mobilized to deal with the situation.

The WPA observed that its call for a national approach to the crisis, which has been echoed by the PNC/R and other forces, has fallen on deaf ears.

The party stated in a release yesterday that "opposition parties can make these calls, but cannot implement them; this is the function of the government."

However, the release noted, these parties have a duty to continue to press the government and to inform the citizens of the consequences of the government's action or inaction.

The WPA declared that it "intends to discharge this duty without fear or malice."

While President Bharrat Jagdeo recently indicated that during the rest of this year and most of next year efforts will be made to amend several laws to give support to the police in their fight against crime; the WPA contended that anti-crime laws are effective only when there is a broad-based will to make them work.

"We therefore reiterate our call on the government to convene an urgent and meaningful meeting of all parliamentary parties, civil society organizations, and the security forces to construct an immediate and a long-term plan to deal with the situation," the release said.

And failing this, the release continued, "WPA calls on the social partners to convene a meeting of non-governmental forces, including political parties, to come up with a plan around which the wider society should be mobilized," as "enough is more than enough."

According to the opposition party, Guyana has become almost unlivable, and already the damage to the country's psyche will take decades to repair.

The WPA said that the time for blaming the political foe is long past. "Political games in the form of meaningless consultations cannot compensate the women and children who have been violated or the relatives of the law enforcement officers who have lost their breadwinners or the scores who have felt the savagery of the gun butts and bullets of the gunmen and the viciousness of the rogue police," the party said.

The release said the party thinks it is time to be frank about where the country is at the moment, because after the events of the past week, there can be no doubt that Guyana has become one of the most lawless countries.

There are very few countries in the world, the WPA noted, where a gang can enter a community and rob, rape, beat, burn and shoot innocent people at will without the slightest bother of being apprehended, or where a young policeman and a senior law enforcement officer can be gunned down in broad daylight in the same village and not a single eyewitness dare come forward with credible information.

The party said further that Guyana has now entered the category of a state out of control, where drugs and crime are heaped atop dire poverty and racial antagonism, leading to a regime of hopelessness, fear and political and social instability.

At the core of all this, the party posited, is the outstanding issue of governance and the distribution of political power. And the situation is compounded by the inability of the government of the day to emerge from its state of denial, the WPA argued.

"The PPP/C government and party continue to behave as if Guyana is at peace with itself," and "when government proves incapable of discharging its basic functions of order and security or fails to realize that it lacks the tools to effectively navigate the state, lawlessness takes over with a vengeance," the party asserted.

The WPA also extended its sympathy to the victims and their relatives of the latest attack.