Recent headlines in the daily newspapers seem to suggest that the country is under siege by criminal gangs roaming the streets.
The social media lit up a few days ago when a photograph of the lifeless body of slain money-changer, Brijlall Persaud, saturated many online spaces. The image has augmented flashes of our recent past.
It seems like we have learnt nothing from the infamous crime wave and the rein of the “killing squad”. Those who continue to occupy the seat of government are apparently clueless, unconcerned or unwilling to effectively deal with the real causes of this dangerous situation.
The basic profile, as reported in the media, of many of the alleged criminals should have at least propelled any government to swiftly establish a national broad-based coalition to stem this vicious tide of “youth criminals”. Like I have said before, many of the perpetrators of these heinous crimes are themselves victims, victims who seem trapped in an education system that continues to fail them miserably.
When a fifteen-year-old child who is unable to read at the first grade level is expected to pass seventh grade English and Math, the system is failing that child. Frustration steps in and the child simply drops out of school.
The drug cartels, money launderers, and big-time criminals, who studied the system, are quick to collect their unsuspecting “apprentices” and put them through a crash course, in order to craft and perfect their criminal careers. The Social Services Ministry cannot respond because there seems to be no strategic cooperation and collaboration with the Ministry of Education.
So a child drops out of school, and no one cares to look or intervene, because according to the authorities and society, the parents should take all the blame. So when a sixteen year old can openly declare that he is a sex worker on the streets of Georgetown, no one seems to be outraged, shocked or concerned that there is a child working the streets of Georgetown plying some kind of “sex trade”!
The authorities will continue to drop the ball on our children if we continue to view this situation of youth crime as solely a “parenting problem”. This mindset will only serve to promote the agenda of the oppressors, relieve this government of its responsibility to protect and preserve the interest of our children, embolden the criminals that recruit our children and create more murder and mayhem in the society.
The government has a responsibility to serve and protect the interest of our children and we should examine the policies and programs of this administration to determine whether those are in the best interest and welfare of our children. Again, I think it is time that there is an open conversation about the need and value for a program like the Guyana National Service, which the PPP/C government abandoned.
I know that many of us will take to the streets to celebrate Mashramani; I hope that there are adequate security measures in place to protect revelers, and onlookers. The recent spate of crime must put all of us on notice. I wish everyone a very safe and enjoyable Mashramani.