What happened to Renée could happen to anyone

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A FEW days ago, a colleague of mine from Queen’s College-Renée Daniels-was robbed and stabbed multiple times at the Stabroek bus park. He was heading home from his volunteer group, dressed in his school clothes.

This space affords me the opportunity to share some of the thoughts I have swimming around in my head. More importantly, for me, it provides a platform for me to speak out about issues that affect me. And with this issue, there are so many things that affect me so much.

What valuables could he possibly have on him that warrants the aggression he faced? A phone? A laptop? Some money? What could possibly warrant their attempts to hurt him so gravely?

I cannot fathom the pain and suffering Renée and his family have endured, or even continue to endure, because of this.

And then, it was reported that persons did not aid the injured boy immediately because in his delirious state he appeared to be intoxicated. What happened to looking out for each other?

I cannot comprehend why assistance was not rendered to him sooner. He was literally walking around with multiple stab wounds inflicted on him by inconsiderate and selfish assailants.

When I first heard about the issue, I said that it could’ve been much worse than what happened.

I heard remarks stating: ‘You does got to be more careful when you walking by de park nighttime’ – Why? Why should I have to live in fear of walking in a public place to take public transportation to get home?

Would I be wrong if I assumed that a normalised culture accepting things just as they are, contributes to this issue?

Following the matter and the reactions it has been garnering on social media, I find some solace, however, in the fact that persons at least felt that even if he was intoxicated, assistance should have been rendered to him nevertheless.

The Minister of Security, Khemraj Ramjattan has been ridiculed recently for not having the answers to the security issues in Guyana. As a figure in authority- someone people look to for hope and for solutions to problems plaguing the nation-that would be a very disheartening statement to hear from him. But here I am, lost and confused also.

From the little studies I have done in sociology, I understand that crime and deviance stem from a myriad of factors. Unemployment is a chief causative agent, especially in Guyana’s economy where it youth unemployment is a sore topic. I understand the ‘strain’ theory on crime conceptualised by Robert Merton, which posits that constraints develop when there is a disconnect between the goals and aspirations of people and their means of achieving these. I understand that male absenteeism and the lack of role models could be other causative factors.

I understand these theories and principles, yet it still baffles me how one brother hurt another in this manner. It breaks my heart.

So yes, I am mad to the point of tears thinking about the ordeal over and over again. I am disappointed in the lacklustre communal spirit. And I’m completely perplexed at the normalised culture, in this case. I’m just at a lost-for words, emotions and solutions.

What I do know, however, is that systems are being put in place and that those in authority are trying to curb the issues the country faces.

This past week alone, a US$5.7M project was launched to reduce crime in homes and communities by providing training for out-of-school youths. The programme is one of the components of the Citizen Security Strengthening Project (CSSP), which is being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to the tune of US$20 million.

I can’t imagine so much money being expended and no positive impact is being created. And I know there are many programmes like these that take aim at creating a positive impact in Guyana. I take comfort in that. I take comfort in the fact that persons do not have clear-cut solutions to the problems faced, but there are efforts being made to provide relief one bit at a time.

I know that persons ought to be more considerate to each other, regardless of the circumstances. I do not want to imagine Guyana’s society being one characterised by anomie. What happened to Renèe could really happen to anyone. Better must come.