Chandra’s concern: Kith and Kin? Frankly Speaking...
By A.A Fenty
Stabroek News
October 4, 2002

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Again as usual these days. I’m saturated and jaded. The issues overwhelm. The main issue is staggering, mind-boggling - just plain scary. And threateningly lethal. To those targeted as well as to those who happen to be in “the wrong place at the wrong time.”

So many eloquent speeches have been made, so many erudite bits of advice shared, so many sage things written in many letters well articulated in print. But the slaughter continues as this is written. I know what I’d like to see done, but who am I? That’s why, wearily, I just reflect the views, nay the consummate concern of a taxi-driver/citizen who lives some miles to the east of Buxton Village on Demerara’s Eastern Coast.

I swear on the grave of my deceased mother that these are the views of the Indo-Guyanese taxi-driver who transported me from David Granger’s Publishing House last week Thursday. (Co-incidentally the same Soldier/Scholar Brigadier Granger who has strong views about the use, or misuse of the military in this unprecedented continuous crisis of criminality.)

The concerned but not too-scared taxi-man - name him Chandra - had listened to my query, put in print in last Friday’s column, about just how long would Indo-Guyanese villagers, unquestionably bearing the brunt of the killings, just sit back and be brutalised and executed. Even Eusi Kwayana must be wondering about this, Chandra agreed. Which people would stand by only in fear as their families are beaten, humiliated, robbed blind and murdered? Both by organised bandits and casual part-time criminals? Then Chandra took me up.

“Mr. Fenty, is not that some o-we aint ready to defend weself. Even to strike back. But as soon as we do that we weapons gon be taken away. Confiscated. We gon be charged, victimised. By de same police and army dat en finding nothing or nobody in Buxton!”

Simple, potent words those, I thought to myself. Filled with implications. Perhaps even truths I wished to deny or reject. But conclusions I’m being hard put to deny. Letters have been published with some frequency placing escapees in the presence of army personnel in Buxton. Should they be disbelieved? The bandit’s blood money is taken to that village. Against reliable reports, that too, is now hard to disbelieve. So the point Indo-Guyanese citizen Chandra is making - and mightily concerned about, is that even if the “Indians” retaliate - as the original opposition tacticians/ destabilisers hope for - the same forces ostensibly “protecting” them, the now hapless victims, will turn on them with the venom of hate and the laws of the land.

Now I keep pondering on Chandra’s concerns. Would Mr. Hoyte’s Kith and Kin in uniform be so ruthless as to be the instruments of terror and one-sided subjugation themselves? And do elements in the military and police - loyal to one party and tribe - really tip off their bandit buddies and squaddies? I grapple with Chandra’s concerns. During the short ride I had tried to assure him that there are quite a few professionals still present in the army and police. He scoffed almost good-naturedly. Supposedly accepting the “racial realities” he had understood. Even accepted.

My last pitch to him was one I still believe in and hold dear: The majority of policemen - however consistently they voted for their ethnic Kith and Kin at elections - are still committed to enforcing the rule of law. They could have allowed even more anarchy and mayhem since 1998. But they held the line and have been doing so relatively well - all things considered. Perhaps they realise what the consequences are if they allow even their friends and relatives - in the protest demonstration or in the banditry - to have free rein, to run amok and even share out to them some booty, some loot. The monsters turn.

Either of their own free will or at the behest of their planners. Just look at the uniformed body count!

Luckily, providentially, for me and for you Chandra, there are still good law enforcement officers committed to their motto “Service and Protection.” How long the rural pressure cooker stays under control - is anybody’s guess.

Intelligence - Stabroek and Kaieteur

The editorials, persuasive and, to me, compelling, in the Stabroek News have been mentioning the issue of police and military intelligence from time to time.

Just this Monday it mentioned “the security intelligence” which has been gathered about the use of the village Buxton and also, about how the intelligence “gathered” is to be utilised to go after the Bandits of Buxton. I call on the Stabroek to do a piece titled: How security intelligence is compromised and made useless in the current fight against crime”. I’ll then grade it for facts, accuracy and suggestions for remedies.

I’m not yet a Kaieteur News fan, but I read it these days because of my suspicion that it benefits from certain accurate leaks from security sources.

But my attention was drawn to two items earlier this week: one letter spoke about the weaponry in the bandits’ hands coming partly from the GDF’s Camp Groomes and the “understanding” between certain military elements and their criminal comrades. Another disguised piece spoke of a leader admonishing grieving relatives to get “their own” to join the security forces. Surely worth exploring. Even as we must still choose just what to believe.

Consider Again...

1) Parvati Persaud-Edwards’ letter in this Wednesday’s Stabroek was moving in its content, message and analysis. To me, alas, dear lady, what have you gotten yourself into? Dare I say more publicly? You write so very well. And truthfully.

2) I heard the views on crime from the leader of the Guyana Action Party (GAP) - the numbers behind the WPA’s brains - but what are the views of TUF?

3) Wouldn’t security video-tapes, from cameras, help to identify the bandits in stores etc, when eyewitnesses are scared stiff?

4) Write down seven reasons why the Stabroek News editorials think the PNC/R can help reduce or stop the banditry.

5) Remember in boxing: Back Braithwaite! Hang in with Harris!!

`Til next week!