The “mother of crimes” is poverty, Sir

first_imgAnnaCorreiaLast week, someone asked me if I thought that “Ramjattan has any idea what he’s about”. The truth is, I think that Ramjattan was neither given a fair chance to act in his full capacity as Public Security Minister, nor cared to assume full responsibility for the Government’s inefficiency to tackle crime. When it comes to criticizing Ramjattan these days, one has to bear in mind that he is without full control over the public security policies produced by the coalition, and that he’s being overshadowed by the Ministry of the Presidency. It appears as though the President himself is micro-managing and dictating the direction policy-making must take in addressing crime.In a recent headline, President Granger expounded that narcotics is “the mother of crimes”, laying the basis for how crime will be tackled in Guyana as of now. This is perhaps the most inaccurate statement the President has made to the public so far.Crime has woven itself into the social fabric of this country, not because those at the bottom prefer to sell drugs instead of making an honest earning, but rather because those at the bottom have for so long been unable to make that honest living which would immunize them from the grips of drug dealers. Notorious narco-traffickers, such as Pablo Escobar, drew their power from the poverty stricken societies in which they thrived. In Guyana, poverty is also what dictates more than any other factor, the high crime rates which for so long defined our society. Therefore, the government has to tackle the problem at its source, proposing healthy alternatives for those most vulnerable to the drug trade.Fighting crime requires durable transformational policies designed to enhance the quality of our human capital, therefore attacking poverty at its core. It requires a Government committed to the socioeconomic well-being of its people in a society built on equalitarian principles, geared at successful policy making. Yet, the coalition has repeatedly taken the opposite direction. Social policies aimed at supporting parents and pensioners were removed, taxes across social and professional categories were increased by hundreds of percentages, State guarantees were ripped from the agriculture sector and factories were closed. As if that weren’t enough, 1972 Amerindian CSOs and an undisclosed number of public servants of Indian descent were fired due to political and ethnic discrimination in the Public Service.If the President was really committed to fighting crime, then he would focus more on materialising those promises he made to Guyanese during his presidential campaign, rather than reneging on them, while suggesting that Guyanese become criminals because of their love for the narco-trade. He would ensure his government worked toward building avenues for a reliable job market, creating employment and training skilled labour. He would provide guarantees to young professionals instead of killing the economy and forcing them to flee to Brazil, North America and anywhere else that offered better opportunities.He would also constrain the Indigenous Affairs Ministry to re-hire as promised, the 1972 Amerindians who were fired under the YEAP. Instead, the HEYS programme which was intended to replace the YEAP, forfeited its responsibility to provide jobs for these individuals. Additionally, months of stipends are outstanding for participants who in the end are not guaranteed employment at the issue of the programme. As a result, HEYS is another failed investment unfit to combat poverty in Amerindian communities.Au finale the President’s charade wouldn’t get us far in fighting crime perpetrated mostly by those at the lower levels of society. Pardoning hundreds of criminals without implementing solid rehabilitating structures to prevent recidivism, raiding night spots to confiscate a few grammes of marijuana, apprehending prostitutes before releasing them back into business, have so far proven to be farcical.In addition to sustainable policy-making, the President must put aside his penchant for self-righteous, radical, military-style leadership and intervention, and advocate for the rule of law in every layer of society, including in Government, where corruption currently reigns.If President Granger refuses to muzzle the corruption of his own members of Government and continues to protect the political tyrants of his party, especially those in Region 9, then he is unqualified to sermon this nation on the rule of law.Guyanese people do need change from the unnerving sense of insecurity which hovers over every child, woman and man daily. They need change from the whimsical and capricious policies devised by an untrustworthy Government. It is time.last_img

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