The recent execution style slaying of ex-policeman Beepat Taijram, while it is a dastardly and savage act, besides being viewed as a homicide should also be a wake-up reflective call to the law enforcement agencies in Guyana. The deceased was formerly one of their own, prior to his dismissal from the Force. The former employee of the Force, a seeming representative of law and order, had a past so sordid that he could effortlessly become a poster child for the Mob.
To further bear out my point that the security and law agencies in Guyana need to look closer at not only their hiring policies but also the integrity of those whom they hire. For far too often the Guyanese populace and others throughout the diaspora is faced with report of rogues in the ranks and also rogue members of the Defence Force. It is evident that the cancer of corruption that was slowly invading the fabric in Guyana has now fully metastasized.
Do I think that there are too many men and women wearing a badge for the wrong reason? Yes!. Potential and fully fledged crooks, abusers, gangsters, etc. who have managed to get into the Police Force? Of course I do. As a native Guyanese I find it really troubling to read of sworn law enforcement men and women clearly violating their oath, the law, and civil liberties of the people.
Recently, as reported in the news, two police officers attached to the Kurupung Police Station have been “departmentally charged” after it was alleged that they took a bribe to facilitate the release of twelve men. Another blow dealt directly to the guts of the Police Selection and Hiring Committee. In yet another recent case, the Child care Protection Agency is investigating a report of statutory rape by a member of the Police Force Tactical Unit (TSU). While we are in the sexual zone, let us not forget that the very Head of the Police Force, the country’s Top Cop, embattled Henry Greene, was forced to resign, after months of speculation regarding rape allegations made by a 34 year old mother of two.
Then again, the case, where it was alleged that two cops doused a teen’s genitals with methylated spirits and then set him afire. The two accused cops were recently promoted (despite public protestations) in a seemingly symbolic act of appreciation for services well rendered.
It is apparent that the time has arrived, especially in view of a forthcoming election where terms such as change, range and estrange will be tossed around like ingredients in a salad bowl, for the Police Force to carefully scrutinize their hiring and admissibility policies. It is blatantly apparent that a change is needed; rigorous integrity tests must be an intricate part of the process, not only for the applicants but also the interviewing agents. These are legitimate and necessary safeguards for maintaining integrity in an organization.
At the risk of being viewed as one who portends bad news, the entire selection and admission process may need to be disbanded and then up-handed. After all, there is nothing to be proud about.
Protect and Serve is clearly a farce. Surely, there are other good cops on the Force, but by virtue of inclusion, they are viewed as being of similar ilk as their colleagues. Some degree of truth may still lie in the adage “if you are a part you may soon learn the art”. As a nation, we cannot stand by merely seeking hope and refuge in the words of the Sam Cooke’s song- “A change is gonna come”. We must bring the change and now. While dead men tell no tales their messages must be listened to.