The dangers of parading with large weapons
I AM writing this letter in particular to the Government of Guyana, the Honourable Minister of Home Affairs and his ministry, law enforcement agencies, security firms, and weapon lovers on the dangers and risks of weapons if they are not properly used.
While I am the founder of one of Guyana’s long-standing security firms (since 1979), it is well known that I am not a gun lover. I have always been of the view that they can be dangerous in the hands of people who operate them. Guns, within seconds, can take a life and/or severely hurt and injure people while damaging their lives forever. I know this is difficult, but I wish we could have a world where we could exist without the need for these killing apparatuses.
I write this missive because it is of great concern to me that many guns have been recently stolen from security personnel, householders, and even from Guyana’s law enforcement officers. Several AK-47 and other high-powered weapons have also disappeared from the headquarters of the Guyana Defence Force and other locations in Guyana. Most recently, a weapon was stolen from the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) security guard in Success and the Eugo Supermarket in Melanie, East Coast Demerara. I must say that this is not a new phenomenon. Even my own company has suffered such losses in the past, and as far as I know, all security agencies have experienced some of this. Before I dilate more on this topic of firearms and the dangers of them, I would like to give a piece of friendly advice to GuySuCo: it is my opinion that they are using the wrong form of generator/pump and should have used an enclosed generator that is not easy to get into the mechanics of the generator. Knowing GuySuCo as I do, it is very easy for them to make an enclosure very quickly.
Personally, I believe that at no time should a security guard be put with a firearm at that spot. As a matter of fact, security guards should not be in any location where a firearm is exposed to the public. I wrote letters in the media and expressed concern on Facebook of the latest trend in Guyana whereby since 2015, security personnel have been parading with large-scale weapons, including rapid-fire rifles and shotguns. Oftentimes, these weapons are exposed to public eyes, especially to criminals with malicious motives and who at the same time, if used incorrectly, can harm and kill innocent bystanders.
Some of these security operatives had firearms issued to them for their goldmines. However, as with common greed and in an underground partnership with certain elements of the previous government, they began to bring these weapons to supermarkets, bars, shops, and malls to build fear and terror in the hearts of criminals. Little do they know that it only enriches the illicit arsenals of criminal elements, better known as bandits! In my view, the idea of using such weapons in supermarkets, restaurants, shops, and malls is very ill-advised and demonstrates a lack of understanding of security. It is a misguided concept that these weapons would create terror. Instead, as I said above, these weapons attract the eyes of the criminals who will steal these weapons.
Security guards are human beings and they will always have a vulnerable moment. I believe that some security personnel and businessmen cannot grasp the reality of criminal culture in our society as it relates to weapons and firearms theft. They also underestimate the reality of the criminal mind. Some of these criminals may be the staff of their own and even the security personnel themselves.
Businesses who employ security services to make a show of these large guns make the criminals laugh. These security firms lack awareness and they do not know and criminals have an ‘element of surprise.’ I do not want to give the criminals ideas on how to undermine any security firm, a business agency, and/or how to disarm the security guard. So, I do not want to dilate a lot on this unless these businesses desire to contact me to ask what I mean. Therefore, I say no further. (If companies wish to speak to me i can be easily contacted)
In India, security guards are in major places with large weapons (five and six-foot long double-barrel shotguns, which are famous in India) and when a security guard or big landlord picks up these weapons, people run for their lives. On the contrary, in Guyana, since the weapons are so long and bulky, the Guyanese criminals find strategies and ways to easily disarm the security personnel and use the stolen weapon against the business or personnel themselves. It is obvious that at the GuySuCo pump, the ‘element of surprise’ was used when the criminals held the cutlass at the neck of the security guard. This should be a wake-up call to the security agencies who are knowingly taking these contracts and putting the guards and guns at risk while subsequently enriching the criminals’ arsenals.
I have refused security contracts when large arms are unnecessarily demanded at such places, as it was not prudent to use such a weapon in such a location where there are movements of people in large numbers, be it shoppers or pedestrians. Most of these shotguns have pellets, and when fired, cone out thereby endangering the lives of many innocent people who could be wounded and maybe even killed. If a slug is used, the slug could move through one person and hit another, and could even be so destructive that it could take off an arm, crack open the chest, etc. of an individual. So, just imagine, dear readers, if a rapid-fire rifle with bullets had to be used in a store or a mall, just imagine the dangers it might cause.
With this in mind, I wrote a letter and visited the Honourable Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn, who listened very intently and showed much concern as I explained to him that these guns are suitable for large compounds that are heavily fenced, or as I said above, in gold-mining areas. I also indicated to him that these weapons should be specially placed, so that innocent citizens cannot be injured if they are used.
I wish to emphasise that we are not in a war zone or patrolling a border with heavy narco-traffickers. We are not fighting the ‘Sindicato’ of Venezuela or protecting an illicit gold mine. Therefore, these weapons should not be used in malls, shops, restaurants, and supermarkets. I am of the view that some security companies and security personnel like to create a show by putting the weapon by their knees in a special holster, which makes them look dangerous. However, in my opinion, it makes them extremely vulnerable and attractive to the bandits.
As such, it is my view that the Government of Guyana should implement the following measures in an effort to curb such acts:
1. No high-powered weapons should be permitted in any supermarket or store. They should only be used for large-scale factory compounds or goldmines and identified positions where there can be no threat to innocent citizens, or nowhere where the bandit can easily make contact with the security personnel.
2. Firearms should be concealed and not exposed to the public eyes.
3. We must recognise that human life is precious and that it is a gift from God. It is advisable for certain businesses to set up security guards who are trained to use batons as lethal weapons along with other self-defence methods without the use of firearms. They should bear in mind that if there are losses, those losses can never compensate for the loss of human life.
4. They can create particular areas and places where the security guard, with such huge weapons, is in a concealed area and can fire at a target without being personally exposed at the front of a store or within the store.
Furthermore, it is human nature that the security personnel would have to use the washroom, eat, smoke, and/or be compelled to go on their mobile phones. In particular, the males like to forget their weapons and look at the females walking by the road or entering the stores. I will ask the Honourable Minister and Government of Guyana to note that most of the security services that use these exposed, large weapons are newly established security services, not older experienced security firms in Guyana. As such, they should be advised of the dangers of using enormous weapons carelessly.
My aim is to make Guyana a better and safer place to live for all citizens. And so I pen this missive with great concern.
Hajji Dr. Roshan Khan Snr