Guyana is now a full-fledged criminal republic. Criminality has found a safe haven in Guyana
Crime and criminality under the PNC and the PPP
OCTOBER 20, 2012 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER LETTERS
No country can flourish in a society of criminality, crime, wrongdoing and breakdown of the rule of law. This is the kind of society Guyana has become under the PPP. The drug trade flourished under the PPP when other countries in the region saw major decline in drug trafficking. While Colombia has reduced the impact of drug trafficking, Guyana has become a drug trafficking haven.
As long as we continue to have drugs in Guyana, we will have serious crime, corruption and the breakdown of law and order. Guyana is now a full-fledged criminal republic. Criminality has found a safe haven in Guyana. Let’s get something straight. Crime in Guyana did not start with the PPP. Crime has been around for time immemorial and upsurged under the PNC regime.
What the PPP did was that it took crime and criminality in Guyana to an entirely crippling, sickening and frightening other level. Everything in terms of crime we had under the PNC we basically have under the PPP with some differences and exceptions.
In every society we will have crimes of passion, domestic violence, crimes against people and property, crimes of opportunity and crimes of corruption. Guyana under the PNC of particularly the 1980s saw its fair share of such crimes. We have seen more crime and criminality under the PPP despite its boast of economic development.
What is it that has caused these richer or less poorer and better living Guyanese to engage in more murdering, killing, slaughtering, domestically abusing, robbing, thieving, kicking down doors, filling their pockets and corrupting than they ever did when they were dirt poor, starving and destitute under the PNC?
The collapse of the rule of law, the drug trade and the rampant corruption and stealing from the public treasury are important answers. However, the PPP has encouraged a permissive culture of condoning corruption, immorality and stealing. Its bigwigs not only steal, but arrogantly display their stolen goods in extravagant style, throwing up mansions, driving luxury vehicles out of the reach of even the middle class in developed countries and living in brazen style.
This creates greed, covetousness, envy, keeping-up-with-the-neighbours mentality and copycat tendencies, particularly when others know the spoils were from ill-gotten. So, the decent-minded citizen will start accepting bribes or pilfering money from the people. Or the cop will leave his job and become a drug cartel enforcer. Then there is another set of criminals who think there is nothing wrong in invading the homes of these individuals and robbing them.
One cannot discount the skyrocketing cost of living issue. Everything costs a lot of money in Guyana. Criminality has made a handful of criminal entrepreneurs and those they bribe very wealthy. So has those outrageous fat cat salaries paid by the PPP to thousands of party hacks. This has created another small cabal of wealthy, using taxpayers’ money. Then there are the thieves who steal the public money and fatten themselves on the backs of the people. The spending of this small group of crooks and the corrupt, places significant pressure on the working class man and woman. Because these vagabonds can pay more for a product, they are constantly driving prices up.
When Pradoville mansions with ten bedrooms are being built, it drives up the price for building materials for the family of six building a simple home. People pressed economically start making immoral decisions and the downward spiral occurs.
Under the PNC, crime and criminality was kept to a petty level except for politically motivated crimes such as the assassination of Walter Rodney. Gun crimes were infrequent but are now a common occurrence. The drug trade existed under the PNC but was marginal at best. Contraband trading was big business but many viewed it as a moral necessity in the face of food bans.
The drug trade, proceeds from crime and the underground economy are now major centrepieces of Guyana’s economy under the PPP. The fact that the drug trade continues untouched under the PPP suggests the party sees the drug trade and the criminal economy as vital to the country’s economy.
One may argue the VAT was instituted to tax the spending of illegal wealth in Guyana. The PNC did not have a similar tax imposed on the proceeds of contraband trafficking. In fact, contraband trafficking and smuggling under the PPP is much larger than it was under the PNC.
The evidence of inaction against drug cartels points to the PPP strategically deciding to make the proceeds from drug trafficking and the underground economy a facet of its economic policy. The fact that the PPP refused to allow the DEA and the British entry to Guyana to fight the drug scourge and its denial of serious external help, strongly indicates the PPP sought to profit from the economic spinoffs of the drug trade.
Like every other jumbie and voodoo economic miscalculation of the PPP, this one backfired. Guyana grew 3.54% per annum under the PPP and 2.23% under Jagdeo, under whose rule the drug trade flourished in Guyana. There was far greater annual growth in Guyana under Cheddi Jagan when the drug trade was in its infancy.
It was a shameless, gutless and intellectually backward decision to refuse to crush the menace of the drug trade when the opportunity presented itself. Today, the drug trade benefits only a few who control it and those who are bribed by it.
The PNC had the same moral and economic dilemma as the PPP. During the heyday of the drug trade in the 1980s, where drug cartels made their most profits, the PNC could have allowed this scourge to take root to reap the economic spinoffs. But for all its skulduggery and wrongdoing, the PNC refused to take this step. Forbes Burnham and Desmond Hoyte were patriotic enough to know the price of social devastation from encouraging criminal cartels and drug networks. They knew that drug cartels do not benefit a nation. They benefit the few leaders of that cartel and the corrupt who feed off of them. Corruption under the PPP dwarfs the stealing by the PNC. The PPP is showing us what thieving and bribery really is.
A bribe for a soft drink and a tennis roll or a small pittance to feed the family for a day in the PNC days is now a demand for millions, a car, a house and school fees for an entire year for the crook’s children. When men stole under the PNC to fix the leaking roof of their existing house or their fences, men today under the PPP are stealing enough to build several mega-mansions.
The scale of corruption and pilfering under the PPP is alarmingly outlandish. These are men with the impunity and unchecked greed. There is far more money collected from tax revenues available to the bandits within the PPP. It is evident that both the PNC and the PPP created criminal states or nations wracked by criminality. But the criminality and crime has attained a catastrophic scale under the PPP. Guyana is a narco-state.
For all their wrongs, Cheddi Jagan and Forbes Burnham knew when to draw that line in the sand. For all their flaws and there are many, these men knew that some things simply could not ever be allowed to set foot upon the country of their birth and the land of their political sacrifices. They may have loved power and worshipped foreign ideologies and run dictatorships, but they knew when nation trumped everything else. These were men who were wrong on many things, but right on a few things that matter. The prospect of economic prosperity from drug trafficking at enormous cost to the nation was not an option to these men. They preferred a life of poverty, free of drug cartel-created crime, than a life of illicit wealth created by a poisonous substance that filled the nation with crime, fear and the rawness of blood spilling.
Drug cartels and crime networks are run by a few for the benefit of a few. Wherever the drug trade blooms, death, crime and inequality take off. This is the deathly legacy of the PPP.