THE ATTITUDE OF THE PEOPLE
October 26, 2009 | By KNews |Columnists, Peeping Tom
It is expected that opposition parties are going to take the moral high ground when it comes to abuses of human rights, inclusive of the use of death squads and paramilitary militias to deal with enemies of the State. When the PPP was in opposition it soundly condemned the activities of the Death Squad which wiped out many criminals.
The fact is that the PPP, the Working People’s Alliance and the human rights community were the only voices railing against the excesses of the State. The ordinary citizens were not that concerned because Guyanese in the main really do not care much about what happens to persons who engage in criminal conduct.
As far as they are concerned, those criminals who met their ends through extrajudicial means got what was coming to them. This attitude on the part of the vast majority of citizens explains why when someone is caught stealing within a community and that person is given a sound beating, there are not too many persons pleading for the criminal not to be subject to this form of abuse.
An ordinary citizen does not feel as bad about misplacing a valuable item or even about gambling it away as he does about having that item stolen from him. For the average citizen, a criminal taking the citizens’ possessions, however invaluable, constitutes a violation. This is why people get worked up when they are robbed and this is why they show little mercy to those who steal and commit other crimes.
The joint opposition in this country has to understand how ordinary citizens feel about crime. If they understand how the people treat crime, they will be in a better position to appreciate why they are not being taken seriously in this call for an investigation into the extra judicial killings by alleged phantom squads.
If it were the case that the phantoms were wiping out innocent citizens going about their peaceful business, there would have been a greater outcry. But the people of Guyana know that the “phantoms” was a response to the “Talibans” who were robbing, killing and raping people in this country and who had virtually brought this country to a state whereby its citizens were defenseless against the marauders which included Inspector Gadget, Andrew Douglas, Dale Moore, Shawn Brown, Mark Fraser and Troy Dick.
The vast majority of the people of this country could not give a hang about how these dreadful men reached their end because these men instigated a reign of fear in this country.
It was a dread time for all Guyana but more especially for members of the Police Force. There were policemen in this country who were afraid to hang their clothes out on the line, for fear of being identified as belonging to the Police Force and thus face recrimination from the “Talibans”.
There was a time in this country when mini buses were stopped and police ranks shot simply because they belonged to the law enforcement agency. There was time when Inspector Gadget was on the rampage and when women were afraid of being raped by him.
When he died, not too many people shed tears. Not too many people complained that he was victim of the phantom squad. The situation was so dread that if the devil had come and offered to help Guyanese, I believe they would have accepted that offer because the police were locking their gates at night.
This is not, as stated before, to condone what happened. It is simply to explain the psychology that is behind the attitude of the Guyanese people towards this call for an investigation into extra judicial killings.
The Guyanese people are looking at all of those who are making a lot of noise now about investigation and asking what about the time when the “Talibans” were on the loose. Where were the voices then? A great many persons, including the opposition, could have spoken out earlier and more stridently against what was taking place. But they waited until the last moment before they condemned what was taking place.
Mr. Hoyte, in fact, told the people of Buxton that they had a right to self defense. He did not tell them though that this right did not include harbouring criminals. Well, did the people of Guyana also not have a right to self defense against the “Talibans”? So, the joint opposition must not be surprised at the poor attendance at their meetings calling for an international investigation. They must also not be surprised that people are not going to turn up to give any evidence to the police. Even if there was an independent investigation, the same situation will arise.