Think like a bandit?
By A.A Fenty
December 6, 2002
Should it come to that? That I, as a relatively upright law-abiding citizen with a few worthy values and virtues still retained, should actually advise fellow Guyanese to borrow and adopt the nefarious unwholesome thinking processes of common crooks and criminals? To think and, in some subtle ways, behave like bandits?
Perhaps it is my curious recipe or formula for the collective survival of our very state. Now under siege - by the fearsome fancy and whims of murderous career criminals. Ironically, if any “good” can come out of this season of organised criminality, it is that the ordinary citizen, apart from the state, the government and private law-enforcement agencies, the private commercial sector, must emerge for the future as his and her own agent of heightened security consciousness. Yes, as the Americans have been forced to become since 9/11, every Guyanese must become security conscious. And from the negative perspective of the professional law-breaker of today, we can learn to be aware, to be on guard.
Here is some of my speculation with respect to how this year’s organised and guided bandit thinks and operates: Whether he is an occasional thief or a more permanent professional, today’s bandit has to be impressed, inspired and influenced by the jailbreak five of Republic Day last. The criminal today also would be aware of the enabling environment created by politicians who, by words and actions, made public statements that did not assist a sense of law and order or respect for law-enforcement authorities.
Today’s brigand therefore knows he has a lot going for his trade - an unsettled political atmosphere of disagreement, famous fugitives as “role-models” (Douglas learnt his techniques from Blackie, once well trained by our Defence Force), the timely launch of “Bad-business/Sour-deal” drugs wars and, of course, the release of the weaponry acquired from internal and external sources.
Added to all that, the more professional and motivated bandit also benefits from safe-haven accommodation provided by the misguided ethnic-specific, politically-ambitious sponsors, who no doubt, use some of the youth. Completing all the above is the public support given by the political tele-activists who promote destabilisation towards what is now being described as “regime-change”. You could say that in Guyana today, this is the best time to be a bandit. Even the police force is under siege, often having to isolate its own rogue cops.
Against that background I submit this one strange remedy for our attempt at survival. Yes, the usual “co-operation” with police and suchlike is still recommended. If fear does not prevent same. But think and plan like the Bandit. To pre-empt and avoid his own offensives.
As a businessman, for example, what would you do these days? Look for the weakest, the breaches in security. On the premises and in your systems. Decide who to tell what. Loyal employees, envious family members, strange taxi-men? See? What? Must Guyanese become so suspicious, impersonal? This is what could happen to the “soul” of the nation. When, if you take my advice to think like the thieves.
You know when you are at your weakest. The professional bandit is studying you and yours. Where are your children? Funny, but consider even the fact that if caught the bandits have the ability to hire the best lawyers. Thus their approach to the robbery and to you. So what should be your approach to them?
Take time to imagine what they plan next. As a bandit you’ll know whether you need intellectual guidance or rationalisation; or just insider tips from inside the Forces; or whether your attacks should be race-based. Consider where you’d get your weapons from-who’s your contact in town or country, or overseas. Do not, for heaven’s sake become a bandit; don’t assume his persona but try to go into that type of psyche; to think like him, like them so you’d know where to go, what to do.
It’s another perspective if you’re political. Especially of, or sympathetic to the government. What if you’re for the volatile aggressive opposition? At this stage of the murderous game, is the bandit your friend or foe? Soon all real non-political bandits become unscrupulous - uncaring about friends, bosses or sponsors. Finally, when you (try to) think like a bandit, you realise how heartless, living-for-little, they are. You can’t be like that? You’re scared of the weapons. And just where can you - like your present-day bandit- access them?
I’ll end this by apologising for my sub-conscious, embattled, barrack-like panic-room mentality. You see, no matter how some of us - especially in the capital, try to behave as if things are normal, we know differently. We are in the aftermath of 9/11. Question is, will we allow a minority of bandits to rule our roost? Our lives?
As the monster assumes his “fullness”, our lives can be totally disrupted, our peaceful society destabilised. Social disruption prevails as fear manifests itself however subtly or overtly. A layman’s review of our criminals’ long arm - his scope of operations - would reveal that very little, except the deep hinterland, is untouched. The bandits’ brigandage, his activities or their consequences have touched the undermentioned.
Every corner of the capital, from ghetto to suburbia, has been affected by occupation and death; night-clubs, Chinese and Brazilian restaurants, service stations, police-stations and out-posts, poor people’s homes, children’s parties, hotels (on Church Street), banks, stores, supermarkets, village groceries, doctors’ offices, vulcanising and repair shops and internet facilities - all have been under deadly attack.
Professional people - the DPP, Doctors, Police Officers - have been targeted; businessmen naturally; poor housewives, taxi-drivers, mini-bus operators and wealthy businessmen - on either side of the law have suffered injury or death. Common criminals, caterers, cleaners and technicians as well as some law-enforcers themselves have been implicated, some have died. Who and what have been untouched? Contemplate those negatives. Are you victim or sympathiser? If all that is not social destabilisation, what is? So? Are common criminals escaped fugitives at the root of all this? Only they are?
1) My Rastafari brother-in-law has again been telling me of places Guyanese can’t traverse - in Region 8 especially - without permission from Brazilians.
2) What? The bandits of Buxton have threatened the Kaieteur News insider reporter? Does this mean I won’t get “inside” stuff from that ‘paper anymore?
3) I’m forever backing the Police. But could they really not have accosted the Regent Street bandits on their getaway outside the city on Tuesday?
4) Is late-shopping or window-shopping still safe?
5) What’s next for the Brigands - schools? Ministries? Funerals?
6) Great news to be developed some time: They are cleaning our mangoes and polishing our provisions!
7) Congrats lotto company. Your sponsored Walter Rodney debates give a modicum of hope for some of our youth and hope springs eternal.
‘Til next week!