Tony Vieira's Comments
18 October 2017

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Guyana today
(Aired 18 August 2006)

   After my last commentary I decided that I would write at least one light piece that had some fun in it, to ease the tension of the election campaign, but it would be based on fact and would demonstrate our national condition.

  The opportunity to do this came on August 17th in the guise of page 11 of the Stabroek news.

    Page 11 of the Stabroek news of the 17 August looks innocent enough but look more closely, on the left top of the page we see this headline "two cops held over stolen Bank money" first of all it appears that there may be as much as 80 million dollars of wet cash floating around Berbice. So if someone pays you with wet 1000 dollar bills .......run!

    After the daring daylight robbery in which about eight participants took an estimated 80 million dollars from two Banks in Berbice, we are now being told that two cops, who were part of the original team which cornered the subjects in the Canje swamp on Sunday resulting in the death of three of them, have now been implicated in stealing the Bank's money from the thieves. Form the beginning it was too good to be true, and the speed with which the force galvanised itself into action after the robbery was breathtaking; mind you the criminals had everything to themselves for nearly an hour whilst they robbed the two Banks, they even had customers and passer-bys lying on the ground in the hot sun with guns to their heads, which had to be a very harrowing experience for those poor people, but after the police finally got into action justice came quickly and with great finality to the criminals, three were killed within two days but more dead bodies were turning up than the cash and it now appears that the speedy response had little to do with the polices' commitment to catch the perpetrators of this atrocity and everything to do with getting the money for themselves, now this raises a serious question, were criminals who would have otherwise been arrested, executed, so that they could not point the finger at the officers who had stolen the cash from them? We don't know, but as of today 18th August it is alleged that nearly a dozen police officers were in possession of wet 1000 dollar bills and that the department is now investigating several members of the initial team who cornered the criminals with the loot and 5 of the eight robbers have been killed. We don't need Kerik here, our police officers can get the job done if you pay them enough, and that is the moral of this story. What is even more hilarious is that our Minister of Home Affairs tells the media that the police are working relentlessly in the matter, yes they were Gail, but unfortunately not for you or me they were working for wet 1000 dollar bills.

   Then on the right top of this same page 11 we see a story captioned "Decisions in poll cases deferred" now here is the real reason why this country is in the situation it is in, our not so honourable Chief Justice is allowing, what the article in the Stabroek news referred to as, "procedural errors" to delay him in rendering his decision in these very important matters, now these cases are one of the things that can lead to big trouble in this country at this time and so any delay to frustrate the process of justice can have dire consequences for us, so what are these procedural problems that we are hearing about? this is a simple matter this government may have misinterpreted and/or broken the constitution in this case, and we need to know if they interfered with article 69 when they tampered with article 61 in extending the period of the dissolution of parliament from three to four months before they held the elections, and time is important; Ladies and Gentlemen we dissolved parliament on the 2nd of May 2006 we will have our elections on the 28th of August 2006 and we have to reconvene parliament by September 2nd.  We have 5 days after the day the ballots are cast to get the results, allocate the seats to the various parties and put the parliamentarians in the National Assembly by September 2nd. It can't be done!  

   We are still on page 11, just below this story of the chief justice playing games with our justice, we see that the police are denying that they shot two prisoners during the unrest at lot 12 Camp Street on Sunday, now the unrest at lot 12 started on Friday almost at the same time as the robbery in Berbice, but on Sunday evening, three days after the initial unrest, the police were still having problems to contain the protesting inmates, and two ended up in the public Hospital with gun shot wounds, one in the shoulder and one in the leg but the police are now claiming that they did not shoot at the prisoners, so lets get this straight, the police shot two warning shots into the air, the bullets went up the half mile or so it would before its energy was spent it then turned around and responded to gravity, came down and hit two inmates with enough force to wound them and put them in the hospitalas someone has got to be joking! Perhaps one of the missing GDF AK's is in the possession of the inmates at lot 12 and in the confusion instead of firing on the police, the inmates fired on their cell mates. Only in Guyana ladies and gentlemen, only in Guyana.  

    Now on the left bottom of the newspaper page 11 we see an advertisement alerting the public that the Guyana association of Bankers wishes to advise the general public that effective that same day Thursday August 17th 2006, the hours of business of all commercial banks will be as follows from Monday to Thursday 8 am to 1.00 PM and on Fridays 8 am to 1.30 PM.

    This is clearly the Banks' response to the robberies in Berbice, so here again we have to pause and ask the question, will all business persons who pay weekly and even those who normally pay on the last Friday in each month, have to collect their employees' salaries before 1.30 PM on Friday and hold it at their premises until they payout the money, thereby making them targets rather than the Banks, these same Banks in this country are charging us 11 and 12 percent on our loans and giving us 2-3 % on deposits and savings, they are making a lot of money, so why they can't hire more armed security for their premises especially on Fridays to protect their customers, they are loosing their customers wild with the responsibility of holding this cash at their premises? Now if I had any say at all in this matter I would force the Banks to put more and better security to serve and protect their customers rather than transfer this responsibility, danger and expense to the private sector in this country, aren't they under enough strain? The people who are in charge of this country's affairs should not allow this nonsense.

   On the bottom right corner of page 11 is the death announcement of Ms. Marjorie King aged 75, poor soul I hope that she is with the lord on his holy hill, but the striking aspect of this death announcement is the following: of her surviving siblings Ms. King's sister is in Canada, her brother Eric is in Jamaica, her other brother Emil is in the USA.

  Ms. King was also the aunt of Dr Aubrey King, Rawle and Dawn King, Dr Debora King- Isaacs, John and Raymond King all in the USA; Jeanette Allsopp who is in Barbados; Faith Solomon, Jeremy, Eric and Osmond King who are all in Canada; Rosemary Cameron and Stewart King who are in Jamaica; and Patrick King poor chap he is the only relative of this dear lady's nearly 36 relatives listed, that is still living and is in Guyana!  

    That page in the Stabroek News represents a microcosm of Guyana today, a joke for a police force as badly paid as they are, a minister who does not know what day it is, a judicial system that is tied up in procedural errors, a Banking sector that has nothing but eye pass for us, and evidence of the massive migration from the place.  

     but the saddest thing of all is that we refuse to do anything whatsoever to stop it.