And, when these AK-47’s AR-15’s and sub-machine guns are found, they are in the hands of marginally educated young men, committing bloody murder often via some gang related venture where drugs and any assortment of illegal activity are featured dishes on this gory menu.
We should have been listening to the story of guns in Guyana in the past tense.
Prior to this recent spike in crime in Guyana, way back around year two thousand, there was Minister of Home Affairs named Ronald Gajraj. Even longer ago, around 1977, when this minister was yet a young man, he was an officer in the Guyana Defense Force and was stationed at the Training Command where he was responsible for preparing payroll claims for recruits.
As the story goes – and I’ll stick to the story because it might be politically correct to do so – names showed up on Gajraj’s payroll that did not belong to people known to be alive or on the planet earth, and were being paid by this genius of creative accounting for many a month. As if that wasn’t enough, one fateful weekend, when somebody was too tired – might have been Gajraj but I must stick to the story –the payroll due to be paid that Monday, which should have been secured in the vault with a combination lock and padlock, was heisted from a filing cabinet which was pried open with a crowbar.
Poor Lieutenant Gajraj became prime suspect and was placed on house arrest for lots and lots of months. The two other payroll personnel were, sort of, stupid. One showed up that Monday on a brand new, sparkly maroon 100cc motor bike from Auto Supplies and was promptly arrested. He talked and his testimony placed ‘the lieutenant’ on or around the money at the time of its disappearance.
The other took a few days to be found, though it was relatively easy. He had an insatiable penchant for Bonded Reserve rum and women of indigenous persuasion and many could be bought with the douffle bag of money he was toting. So he checked in to a hidey hole above Garraway’s drug store on Lombard Street and had several women in waiting and a bar man at his disposal.
This made it very easy for a militarily astute Major – maybe he had a chocolate color Mitsubishi Galant with a tan hard top – a swashbuckling Captain with a blue Mini Cooper, who may or may not have been a paratrooper and a young, fearless, female second lieutenant to find him, his douffle bag and what was left of the money. He walked calmly to the ‘Rover’ that was waiting for him outside, parked sort of slant ways, for disguise. The fearless female second lieutenant finished off her shot of Bonded, massaged the browning that she had tucked in her waist, and walked out behind the senior officers and the man with the douffle bag who had already told them how the money was stolen and where the crow bar that uncapped the top of the filing cabinet was hidden. He, too, placed this hapless lieutenant Gajraj, somewhere near the money when it was pried out of the filing cabinet where it should not have been placed. He was, also, careful to tell the Major how to hold the small brown pouch he was handing to him, since it had an opened ‘finey’ – liquor parlance for a half liter of alcohol.
Gajraj was then dishonorably discharged from his country’s army, sent to Lot Twelve Camp Street, then -follow the trajectory – to University of Guyana,then to law school and then worked for the PPP, where he represented Guyana at the Ambassadorial level after serving as Minister of Home Affairs – ironically, Chief Watchman over felons like himself.
Such were the rewards for criminals of certain political persuasions and the arc of their post -criminal careers under a government that lacked the prudence to unyoke government from chicanery and separate itself from felons; even if the records of said felons were expunged, allegedly. Mr. Gajraj’s was such an asset to his government that he was elevated to Minister of Home Affairs where it is rumored he was head of an assassin’s unit – a rumor not vigorously refuted but in which Gajraj exceeded expectations.
The next Minister of Home Affairs was not without his social speckles. Whatever he did, earned him a ‘scholarship’ to Prague in Poland where he ‘learned’ political science. Seems he assimilated in whatever language is spoken in Prague because none of the skills he purportedly gathered were transferred, effectively, to his designation. So, like under Gajraj, there was a Ministry of Home Affairs which was grossly inefficient overseeing a police force that was loosely recruited, largely unethical and severely underpaid; external antecedents to inner decay.
And, so we bring what should have been past into the present and are trying to find a current fix for an upsurge of crime in an environment that has not had reason to feel that the police were ever the keepers of law, especially because their bosses were Gajraj and Rohee valedictorians of a political party that had a strange magnetic attraction for malefactors.
The good thing here is that there is new government which has jurisdiction over its military. The bad thing is that there is a police force with an unethical reputation and smaller and less lethal arsenal of weapons.
I can hear the analysts and dedicated critics now, saying the Brigadier has imposed martial law since he became President. I can hear all sorts of theories filtering through the air; maybe a sting operation; maybe the gun amnesty that the Minister of Home Affairs offered; maybe beef up the police – anything but using the Army.
Guyana remains in a security crisis because the criminals are able to outgun the police and bribe their way to freedom. The plan must be one of simultaneously disarming the bandits concurrent with crippling their financial pipeline. There is intelligence available on where these thug HQ’s are, where they hang out and how they spend their money.
This is not a job for England or Canada or America. This is job for Guyana.
It was Thomas Jefferson who said, “The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.”
I am no Constitution expert but I am sure there is some provision in there for the deployment of the Military when the para military fails; some set of chains to anchor our constitution as it defends against crime, especially in government.
I am confident that a Guyana Defence Force Equivalent to Special Forces, an Equalizer Unit, can execute these corrective measures in very short and efficient order.