Take the fight to the criminals Editorial
Guyana Chronicle
August 19, 2004

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THE savagery of the bandits in the Tuesday morning killing of Mr Davechand Appanna, the brutal attack on his wife and the shooting to death of the young policeman in yesterday’s Buxton operation by the police, are a grim reminder that armed gangs still hold sway on that stretch of the East Coast Demerara.

The killings immediately brought back memories of the dark period between 2002 and 2003 when violent criminals spread terror in a rampage that triggered fear along the coast from the epicentre in Buxton.

In that terror campaign, policemen were gunned down, residents in nearby villages were attacked and robbed, people were kidnapped and persons in vehicles travelling along the main road in Buxton were waylaid and robbed.

Buxton was a safe haven for the criminal gangs and the army had to be deployed there in a bid to contain the rampage.

It was a campaign that was stretched out but eventually, with the death of known ringleaders and dangerous criminals, a kind of peace returned to the area.

People began to breathe a little easier; mini-buses and other vehicles were once again able to move along the main road through the village without fear and the crime wave that once drove terror into surrounding communities, seemed to have ended.

Law-abiding citizens of Buxton have also been quietly trying to take back control of the troubled village from the violent elements that once dominated the community.

But a rude awakening has come in the two killings within 24 hours.

The Tuesday morning robbery attack on the Non Pariel family was merciless. The bandits stabbed the bus owner 14 times and left the blade of a knife in his back before fleeing with $100,000.

These clearly are men without compunction and they have to be tracked down and put away.

If the authorities needed any reminder, yesterday’s attack on the police during the cordon and search operation in Buxton brutally illustrated that they are not dealing with boy scouts.

The police are up against criminal bands bent on maintaining a terror campaign along the East Coast and they have to ensure they do not succeed.

Residents cannot be held hostage as they were during the 2002-2003 crime wave and the authorities have to take the attack to the gangs, flushing them out wherever they are.

There are harsh lessons to be learned from the 2002-2003 terror campaign and if an assessment determines that the army should be brought in to help track down the criminal bands, no time should be wasted in putting together a comprehensive joint operation.

People need to be reassured that their security is still a high priority.