GIHA urges swift action on crime resurgence
Stabroek News
October 19, 2003

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Following the kidnapping of a young taxi driver on Thursday, the Guyana Indian Heritage Association (GIHA) yesterday called on the government to act swiftly to put down the resurgence of criminality.

The organisation said it was “deeply troubled” by the re-emergence of the kidnapping of Indian Guyanese. Several persons were kidnapped during last year and earlier this year, including a United States diplomat, two Trinidadian contractors, and a number of local citizens. Some victims were released after ransom was paid, while others were killed.

The last reported kidnapping was on May 13, when Mahaica businessman, Viticharan Singh, was snatched and held at several places, including a church, in Buxton. Five days later, members of the army and police rescued Singh and soon after, the joint forces moved into the area and killed several criminals. That marked the beginning of the end of a 15-month crime spree.

However, on Thursday, 20-year-old taxi driver Vivickanan Nandalall was snatched. GIHA said it strongly condemns this kidnapping and “calls on the government to act swiftly to maintain law and order so that Guyana does not have to live through another 15 months of terror.”

The organisation said it hopes the government would be more receptive to the distress of citizens of the country “and will not again seek to deny or refuse to take seriously the continued bouts of terrorism, including extortion and ethnic terror that continue to plague Guyana.”

GIHA said that during a recent visit to Berbice, residents reported that they are beginning to lock up early in order to protect their lives and property from bandit attacks.

“Government must give every assurance about the measures it has taken to protect the citizens of Berbice and Corentyne from attack. We are still not recovered from the last bout of terrorism and this kidnapping does not augur well for the nation’s future unless government begins to act like a government and make citizens’ safety and well-being the priority issue,” the release quoted GIHA’s president Ryhaan Shah as saying.

“The kidnappers must be apprehended and brought to justice and Nandalall returned to his family safely. Anything less leaves Guyana at the hands of the terrorists.”