THE criminal acts of robbery and robbery under arms in Guyana have progressed from the common snatch-and-run; the well-known choke and rob that sometimes involved a knife that supported intent and enforcement, then graduating to the now all-too-common gun as the primary instrument of violent intent.
From societal experience, we know that such acts have mainly been perpetrated on the streets, and in the homes of citizens. Surely, it must be concluded that once on the streets, there was always a possibility of such an illegal, brazen act being committed on a citizen. Also, there used to be the well-known speculation as to why places such as masonic lodges and funeral homes are not targeted.
The answers were not too unexpected, especially regarding the perceived secret rituals that were reported to occur behind closed doors of Lodge Halls, and which were not meant to be privy to persons, except initiated members. As to the place where the dead is stored before burial – no one would want to encounter the latter, even during a robbery! Such have been the reasoning.
So we come to the question: are there any other places that are considered off limits to those intent on committing crimes?
It is known that places of worship across Guyana have been broken into and valuables removed. However, this question was shockingly answered on a Sunday morning in 2014, when three armed bandits invaded the sanctity of the St Phillip’s Church and robbed the terrified parishioners.
Such an act would most naturally have both shocked and surprised citizens, given the fact that a church is a place of worship and a sanctuary for assistance; more so, that such an attack could take place during worship. However, the recent robbery attack at the building housing the Blind Institute, further removes the idea of there being really safe places from robbery attacks.
Such an act, as reported, is downright shameful on the part of whoever the bandits are and is akin to preying on the weak and defenceless; in the latter case, persons who are visually impaired. It would seem that bandits are running out of soft targets as options for perpetrating their criminal acts, due to the stepped-up security precautions and initiatives being taken by law-enforcement institutions, in conjunction with those in the commercial and business sector. How else can one explain a criminal attack on a gathering of hapless citizens, seeking to adopt skills for living and survival? This is as cruel, as it is callous, even though the forcibly taken money had been returned by the robbers. Was the latter an act of heart-felt guilt?
Though not about an act of robbery in an unlikely place, the alleged rape of a young woman who had gone to make a report in the precincts of a Greater Georgetown police station by two policemen at the said locale, is on a similar plateau of a place in which citizens who access its domain, ought to feel assured of their safety.
A police station, which functions as a place for citizens to report matters of wrongdoing, and hold suspects of wrongdoing in detention, pending further investigation, is the last place that such a heinous attack as an alleged offence of sexual violence is expected to take place.
Such an act, for which charges have been recommended for the alleged perpetrators, is just as horrible as and even viler than those committed in the above illustrated cases, since it involves representatives of the law. It is further an instance of gross disrespect to the institution of law and order, and desecration for a building that stands as representing the law. For ranks to be accused of such predatory attacks, is in the first place, a betrayal of what they were sworn to do — Serve and Protect. But for such to be perpetrated in a police station, serves to bring the institution into disrepute.
It is also similar to the incident involving an under-aged teen, allegedly sexually abused while in detention at the City Constabulary of the Mayor and City Council, where charges have also been recommended. Is there any place where the deviants would not venture to perpetrate their criminal acts?