Contacting a Minister is a norm in Guyana!
January 15, 2004
It is a common practice all over the world and this is well-known to all that the Police and other law-enforcement agencies and officials cultivate contacts with criminals as a means of getting information and also being tipped off, of planned criminal activities.
Criminals also use these contacts, through themselves or their attorneys, to plea bargain - giving information on erstwhile associates to the Police or State Attorneys to obtain a lesser charge or a reduced sentence.
We know that in this country, there was and still is a breakdown in confidence in the Police Force and a reluctance or refusal to contact or make reports to the Police. When there were suggestions or requests for members of the public to report information on criminals to the Police, many objected citing the question of Confidentiality at public meetings as well as on television call-in programmes. These are a matter of record.
Have we forgotten what happened to the Chester family in Buxton when it was suspected that they had made reports to the Police?
People said publicly that when they made reports or complaints to the Police, it sometimes happened that those who they informed against turned up on their doorsteps and they had to vehemently and fearfully deny that it was them who had made such reports. These matters came up and were dealt with openly at the public consultations on crime held in different parts of the country.
The point was well taken by the authorities and citizens were given other telephone numbers, which they could call and told that they could report to any other person whom they may choose.
So what is the big thing if someone, anyone, for whatever reasons, chooses to contact the Home Affairs Minister or any other person in authority to give information on criminal activities, if they choose not to go through the normally accepted regular channels, because of fear?
Would you or I want to tell people NOT to go to the Home Affairs Minister or any other person of repute for that matter, if they have information on criminals or crimes? I think not.