Many elders are being targeted by vicious criminals

As a writer, I feel sad and hurt to read of the tragic death of the former Civil Aviation Chairman, Mr. Hugh Denbow. I am even more terrified of the state in which he died. Mr. Denbow was truly a professional and absolute gentleman; he was always a scholarly elder in society and was still working earnestly to provide for his old age. He was a valuable taxpayer. How unfortunate, that he could not reap the fruits of his hard labour, after having worked so diligently and joyfully in service to the people and Government of this country. How unfortunate, that such a precious soul was viciously snatched from us.

I am very concerned about my country and I get even more worried because of the political shenanigans of our political leaders of this country.

I am also of the view, that some people will say we cannot blame the politicians for crime, well then who are we to blame? It is a known fact that crime is a permanent social phenomenon: it has always existed and always will exist. But, economic situations exacerbated by poor governance of various governments are usually the cause for the increase in crime. Youths are not being properly guided, not properly being schooled, at times they have the tendency to lose hope and therefore the only thing they can do is get a quick dollar by a quick crime. Some of them have even learned to not like hard work.

Politicians have not implemented boot camps, to give first and second time offenders a chance, as I have suggested in several letters and articles to the media, articulation on television, and on various programmes. The politicians can make a very serious impact on this; by creating opportunities and having offenders who go to boot camps sign an agreement of contract. I also wrote articles that if they should try to escape, or they do not fulfill the terms of their contract, when they are finished, they will serve out their time with an additional period. The sad thing is that many of these youths have nowhere to turn, many have been brought up fatherless, mothers have not been able to provide enough for their upbringing. Our society is not groomed for an intake of such individuals who have not had these opportunities to be given career opportunities. Another thing I have suggested in the past, is that, anyone who has been involved in any kind of armed robbery, that the 3 Strikes Law must stipulate that anyone who commits any armed robbery — be it with a piece of stick, knife or weapon- 3 times in succession in the lifetime, will be subject to lifetime imprisonment.

Lifetime imprisonment must not be like a cake walk, it must consist of hard labour where monies are earned to compensate the victims, so that they may live. A part of it will go to pay for their accommodation, security and upkeep in jail. The prisons can train them for hard labour or trade for which they have a skill set, and they will do a job within the confines of the prison, and/or an environment of hard labour. Hard labour can include breaking bricks into quarries, cane cutting, cleaning the city drains, gutters and canals etc. A salary — minimum wage — can be paid to them for the upkeep of the compensation of the victims.

It will be remiss of me, if I do not mention the fact that many elders are being targeted, both sexually and criminally for money. We have seen 80 year old to 90 year old women being raped and murdered by youths in central Georgetown and around the country, and we do not seem to have anything in place to try to stop this. Our politicians are mostly bent on winning elections and perpetuating themselves in power. This is my opinion of all the politically trained masters.

Now we have these remigrants; old people returning to Guyana with their bits and savings, and pension as they come. Many of whom have been killed by relatives and friends, for that we cannot really blame the government. Some have been killed by youths in the neighbourhood. We have seen it in Linden, Georgetown, Berbice, the Corentyne Coast, Demerara, Essequibo, whereby these old people who remigrated to enjoy the rest of their life in their senior years have been targeted , murdered, beaten and robbed.

Something seems to be seriously wrong where our old people are being targeted by some of our youths and killed in the most vicious manner. This murder of Hugh Denbow is a painful thing for me as a Guyanese. It should be painful for all Guyana and the government should pass an instruction for the police to move in such vigour and vitality to catch these killers and bring them to justice.

Originally published at https://www.stabroeknews.com on September 26, 2019.

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