Crossing the line – commentary

Crossing the line


Shock waves reverberated around the country Tuesday evening. Former Home Affairs Minister and current General Secretary of the People’s National Congress Reform, Oscar Clarke, had been shot. He had just returned home with his wife who was expecting some relatives.

Four young men, said to be no more than boys, entered the yard and placed a gun to Clarke wife’s head and proceeded to rob the family. This is most remarkable and it tells the story of the level to which the society has descended.  

Generally, prominent people in the society are not interfered with simply because they are respected as national leaders. Further, Guyana still has a culture of worshiping those who are prominent perhaps because the society recognizes that some time there are people who would have to turn to these people for some form of assistance.

When gunmen targeted a serving Minister of Agriculture, Satyadeow Sawh, and killed him and other members of his household, they had stepped over the line but then one must wonder whether the line had not been removed already. A young man waved a middle finger at a presidential motorcade, young people swear at the top of their voices when they pass by police stations and sometimes one can hear these expletives as one sits in the hallowed halls of the National Assembly.

Many can still remember when policemen, who were considered to be above reproach, suddenly began to die in the streets. Gunmen targeted them to the extent that many were even afraid to wear their uniforms in public. Surely the lines had been removed but people did not take notice.
In the case of the killing of policemen there were those who simply said that the police had overstepped the line when they started to be judge, jury and executioner. And policemen almost with impunity, simply killed those whom they pursued.

But for the most part senior public servants who were well known are not interfered with by the criminal elements. These people are supposed to be the foundation of the society and people do not rock the foundation.

Oscar Clarke’s shooting now begs the question of whether the society has collapsed to the point of no return. When Kaieteur News did what any newspaper worth its sale would do—publish the strength of a former President’s security detail, Guyana Times announced that former President Bharrat Jagdeo’s life was under threat.
The newspaper could only write that because it recognized that society has degenerated. At no time in the history of this country have criminal elements gone after national leaders. No retired police commissioner or very senior police officer could testify to being made to suffer at the hands of gunmen. The same could be said for the people in the military.

We must now review what is happening in the society. Is it that we simply cannot provide meaningful employment for the young people? Is it that the school system is generating more people with criminal intent?

Just this past week, there were reports of two stabbings in a school compound. That was unheard of not so long ago. Of course there were fights but these were merely emotional release among young children. Now these fights have turned deadly. There was the case of a schoolgirl killing a grown woman in a city schoolyard. And there was the schoolgirl who stabbed and killed her uncle because he insisted that she remain at home in the absence of her mother.

The lines must have been removed.

There is one other turn to the Oscar Clarke shooting. It occurred in a location where the people overwhelmingly support the political party to which Clarke belongs.  The perpetrators come from that community; they come from the homes where they would have heard their parents sing adulation to the party.

Did the perpetrators not know that the home was that of a person who served the party for which their parents walked the streets in protest? Have we reached the stage where crime knows no bounds?

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  • compton de castro  On 02/01/2013 at 2:59 pm

    dear knews…lots of questions …where are the answers….??

    When crime becomes endemic in a society ….some drastic changes become
    neccessary…some will say “arm” the police …others arm the populace…
    hunt down the criminals and bring them to justice…

    Most of my GUYANESE friends and family carry a firearm…a man like Oscar Clarke may have been armed but these are questions that should be asked.

    Questions that individuals in society must have the answers for…
    In cities GT no exception crime and punishment go hand in hand.
    Laws must not only be enacted they must also be enforced rigourously…

    When the law and law enforcement agencies police et al have the respect of the society in which they operate only then will crimes and the criminals
    behave themselves…fear and intimidation only drive these elements in society
    underground….In order to receive respect we must first show it.

    It begins with parents and teachers meeting and discussing the needs of their children…in some cases even engaging the pupil…In UK some pupils even
    “bonk” off school without any action being taken by both school and parent.
    When the trust between pupil,teacher,and parent, is non existant it leads to deliquency…I am no “educator” but I do feel “communication” between teacher/parent/pupil is a must in order for our future generations to
    behave normally. Deliquency is not the purpose of education…it must cater for all cartegories of pupils…good bad and ugly.



    • N Augustus  On 02/01/2013 at 8:25 pm

      I agree that the solution starts with the parents and progresses thru the school and society and how it is governed. Mr. Jadgeo’s number of body guards, true or not, have little significance in the situation at hand. The same thing may be said of Mr.. Rohee’s performance, which has not been impressive. It is the Commissioner who should be planning and executing policies that would help in reducing crimes. He should be leading the charge for resources. That is what I would have done. We have to stop making excuses for those directly involved in things and not simply blame the politicians for everything. They are simply not doing enough to make the environment more conducive to creating better conditions for better results.

      snt s The r

  • joe blog  On 02/01/2013 at 3:28 pm

    What about Walter Rodney?

  • Leonard Dabydeen  On 02/01/2013 at 6:43 pm

    When safety and security are broken, it is uncertain how you must be able to stay alive. Our past keeps haunting us. Our future is questionable. Our hope is like a smoke-screen. What are we ? Who are we ?

  • Deen  On 02/01/2013 at 9:15 pm

    Crimes must not be measured based on the stature of the victims. Too many crimes like these are not given much attention when the common man is involved. However, when politician is involved then it must be addressed. It appears that for too long Guyana has remain somewhat complacent about crimes. Now that the magnitude of crime is out of control, and corruption is omnipresent in the government, police, GDF, customs and all sectors of society. perhaps some action will be taken to try to remedy the level of violence and lawlessness…..with.the drugs, the burglaries, smugglings, killings, etc. Unless the crimes, violence and corruption are curbed, Guyana will become a highly unsafe society.

  • compton de castro  On 02/01/2013 at 10:04 pm

    thanks for expressing your concerns above…

    Walter Rodney question asked above…

    On june 13 1980 Dr Rodney was assassinated….guyana s loss….

    He is survived by his wife Dr Patricia Rodney and 3 siblings…

    In memory of a guyana scholar who I never met but have read his biography
    may I humbly beg the above survivals to find it in their hearts to forgive the
    execution of their beloved father.
    My brother STEVE DE CASTRO was a great friend and admirerer of DR RODNEY …… working togeather on the MONA CAMPUS in Jamaica.
    Later RODNEY was banned from entering JAMAICA for his political
    beliefs/convictions…bless the man … was always on the side of the “underclass”
    Anyone can google his name today and learn more about WALTER RODNEY
    a guyanese legend…
    Some people would prefer to die for their political convictions…Walter was such
    a person…equaling Mandella Ghandi et al

    WALTER RODNEY the legend/icon will live on in the minds and hearts of all
    guyanese wherever they are.
    SHAKA KANINI and ASHA his legacy.


  • Marc Matthews  On 02/02/2013 at 6:42 pm

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