There is a typical case here in the Rupununi of misplaced priorities by the PPP government. There is an intense campaign, almost an obsession by the party, to convert all and sundry to PPPites. This campaign has now shifted focus to the youths.
On most weekends the PPP operatives, mostly from Georgetown, visit villages on this divisive quest. The youths are lured to the meetings on the ruse of government officials seeking to ascertain the communities’ problems.
At these meetings the youths are given forms to complete and their induction into the PYO is finalised. What deviousness! What happens next demonstrates the lack of patriotism and crookishness of the Party. For anyone to have access to a job in the village, whether it be the dubious and confrontational Community Support Officers (CSOs), or Health Worker, or teacher, one has to be a PYO member. Qualifications or suitability are of no importance.
But while millions of taxpayers’ dollars are being spent to fortify the position of the Party, the Police in the region are languishing without resources to fight crime.
The Rupununi is 23,000 square miles and consists of five Sub-Regions, each in itself, a huge expanse of land.
There are four Police Stations in the Region—one each in the Sub-Regions except the South-Central Sub-Region. The station at Aishalton is manned by two ranks. That area extends from Shea in the east, 42 miles from Aishalton, to Parabara in the West, which is some 57 miles away.
The area also takes in the mining area of Marudi mountains which is 38 miles to the South. This police station has no vehicle.
In examining Annai, the largest Sub-Region, the situation is no different. This area extends to Fairs View in the North, some 68 miles away. The communities in this Sub-Region are widely scattered and are hours driving from one village to the next. There are also communities along the Rupununi River like Apoteri, Rewa, Crash Water and Yakarinta. The police station at Annai does not have a vehicle or boat to access these communities.
The station at Karasabai is responsible for Yarong Paru in the East to Taushida in the West. This area is mountainous and probably requires an ATV to enable the police to access theses villages.
This leaves the Regional headquarters, Lethem.
The ranks at Lethem number no more than 15. They are responsible for the Central and South-Central Sub-Regions. This is one massive tract of land with villages widely scattered. Apart from St. Ignatius Village which is 30 minutes walk from Lethem, the next village, Kumu, is seven miles. As you go to the next the distances increase to double figures. Sand Creek, the center of the South-Central Sub-Region, is at least 58 miles from Lethem and there are other villages further away.
The Police at present have no vehicles to patrol, much less to respond to crimes in these areas. Just before their vehicle became unserviceable, there were always five ranks in the vehicle whenever it left the compound. The reason? Whenever the vehicle was parked it had to be push-started. Hence the driver dared not venture too far least he will not be able to get a quick start. That in itself was an undesirable situation, not to mention a dangerous one.
I am quite certain that the condition of this vehicle would have been included in the station’s routine reports to the Division Command.
Additionally, the Rupununi has over 1,000 miles of border with Brazil. Hence one can appreciate the impossible mission the ranks have in policing the Region. In the meantime, illegal cross-border activities continue unabated. Even with one vehicle, the police were engaged in mission impossible.
One has to sympathise with the ranks here.
The government by not addressing these shortcomings has failed the residents of this very region which they are desperately trying to retain. It has neglected the residents in the same way they have neglected the sugar workers.
My advice therefore is that the government stops this wanton waste of scarce resources and spend it where it is needed. Leave the people to decide which party they want to be members of. That decision will be made in two years’ time.
Carl Parker Sr.