TODAY, CRIMEWATCH GUYANA uses a narrative style to discuss suggestions for lessening the access to, and availability of, illegal weapons, especially handguns, in the country.This was first presented five years ago. Circumstances, including sources of illegal weapons and alleged rent–a-weapon realities, might have changed drastically, but here goes:
The concern today continues to be the availability of weapons to criminals – especially guns – all types of calibre and make. Close your eyes for a few seconds and imagine how many less crimes and deaths would occur if no guns were available. Yes, the key to less crimes of violence and death is the lessening, if not elimination, of guns. Poor “Ghetto Teenagers” access weapons these days. Rich spoilt lads in expensive vehicles also have handguns like they have cigarette lighters.
In times of near crisis, why don’t we embrace and employ drastic, innovative measures? No matter how unpopular they will be if they are for the greater good, ultimately.
Now, in terms of going after the guns, to get them out of the villages, out of the pouches and removed from urban hiding places, let us establish a Special Unit of the Police Force. It is an approach in five steps, to lessen the prevalence of illegal weapons. No rocket science methodology; just suggestions for our Anti-illegal Guns Unit (AGU).
SOURCES AND HIDING PLACES
First: Where are these illegal weapons originating from? Suriname, Brazil, Venezuela? In cargo from countries we import from? So, what should the police unit do? Talk to residents who know the border crossings! Employ officials, anonymous informers. Use decoys among the customs people. Collaborate with the police agencies in our continental neighbours’ jurisdictions. Are such methods beyond us?
Second: Where do the criminal-minded “stash” or hide their caches? Schools, burial grounds, rich people’s roofs in vehicles? Search, search, search! But scientifically, and again with covert assistance.
Third: The unit must work with chairmen of Village Councils and NDCs; with prisoners in jails; with proprietors of Night Clubs; and even with crooked cops now out of the Force.
Relentlessly and consistently, the unit must set up the necessary roadblocks, and carry out spot raids and searches at clubs, Mass Concerts, even sporting events and cinemas. Let people bawl about inconvenience and “rights”, but keep the eye on the prize and relate to the law-abiding public for the greater good and security.
TRAINING AND LEGISLATION
Fourth: My unit would seek to find out just who trains the young to use and maintain these illegal weapons. Who are these senior, experienced culprits, and where is the training done? Are they former soldiers and policemen? Security guards? Are they crime bosses? Any political connections? Overseas linkages? What a lot of intelligence work for the unit! Gunshots do make noises in yards or backlands or forests when “training” is going on.
Fifth: My Anti-Gun Unit would make even more representation to increase the penalties for possession of illegal guns and ammunition. No bail! More jail! Related offences to gun crimes and gun possession must also attract heavy, heavy penalties.
Those five steps, along with amnesties and other offers to rein in guns owned by criminals should go a long way in reducing the gun-availability and weapon-related crimes. WHAT ARE YOUR IDEAS?