SOMETIMES you lose faith in this beloved country of ours. Over the course of the weekend, we all heard that the police killed three bandits somewhere near the Black Bush Polder area. I was elated, as, like many other Guyanese, I was becoming uncomfortable with what appeared to be a spike in violent crime, robberies and home invasions.
So, once I reached to work on Monday, I logged onto my Facebook page to update myself on the finer details of the shootout. To say that I was shocked and depressed by the level of racist comments regarding the incident is an understatement of sorts. Many Guyanese, and I suspect, some of those who support the PPP, appeared to have viewed the deaths of the three bandits through racial lens and prisms, despite the fact that Berbicians had been pleading with the police to do something about bandits operating in the area; despite the fact that they were heavily armed, and in spite of the fact that the situation had become so bad that those at Eve Leary had sent in the SWAT team to help regular police in the region.
A few enquired as to why the men could not have been arrested, despite the fact that they were shooting at officers, hiding in the backlands of Black Bush Polder. Not surprisingly, some of the racial or political comments came from none other than well-known politicians like former minister Priya Manickchand, and PPP activist Romel Roopnarine. Priya said, “those who would have authorised this kind of madness, unjustified protest, disruption to the work of the Police Force are now in the seats of government.” Roopnarine asked if there would be “any burning, looting, street protests, digging up roads, ‘freedom fighters’ because three armed criminals are killed. I include one more than simply blew me out of the water. A Kapil Dave Sadhu suggested that the police blasted them to death because they were Indian. Those are “reasons why they were killed in the first place rather than being arrested.”
Editor, these are unbelievably unfortunate and racist statements coming apparently from people who are not enduring the trauma, the fear and the mental torture associated with crime in Berbice. They are only interested in making a point through racist and political lens. The result of these posts is that some Afro-Guyanese, whom I suspect are pro-Coalition supporters, found it necessary to reply, either by defending the police or felt it necessary to suggest that this is one of the few times when the bandits had forgotten to wear Rastafarian masks to pass themselves off as Blacks. Will this racial tit-for-tat ever cease?
With this attitude of seeing any and everything through racial lenses, I humbly submit that we are doomed as a nation if this state of mind continues. It is simply absurd that some from one section of society could view the deaths of three bandits with more than 200 rounds of ammunition could be seen in racial or political terms.