by Gerald Perreira
The Organization for the Victory of the People (OVP) vehemently condemns the police executions of Tucville youths Edgar Blackman, 22, and Sherwin James aka Tupac, also 22. While we welcome President David Granger’s response to the killings with his call for “more criminal arrests rather than killings,” the situation on the streets requires urgent, immediate and decisive action.
We are being told that Operation Dragnet is successful, but who are the people that the net has been dragging in? Based on our evidence, gathered in various communities, one particular section of the society is being stereotyped and targeted.
According to all eyewitness accounts, the two Tucville youths slain by the police had surrendered but nevertheless were executed. We have seen many years of extra-judicial killings in Guyana, reaching a peak number under Bharrat Jagdeo’s presidency. OVP is calling for an immediate end to the state-sanctioned policy of extra-judicial killings in Guyana.
On the streets of Georgetown, late at night, unmarked cars packed with young policemen in civilian clothing, some looking as young as 18 years of age, armed with automatic weapons, roam the streets. They receive their orders from well known enemies of the Guyanese people, who remain in leading positions in the Guyana Police Force. Some of these top officers participated in the execution of the protestors at Linden, under orders from the racist and corrupt PPP neo-colonial regime, and yet they remain at their posts under the new government.
The bands of young African police officers are armed by the state to keep poor African youth in their place; the tragedy is both groups hark from the same ghettos of Guyana, not to mention the same slave ships. This is a state-sanctioned form of gang warfare, which perpetuates a death squad mentality, and OVP is calling for its immediate dismantling.
APNU+AFC have spoken a great deal about how they intend to deal with “street crime,” but so far their efforts have not produced tangible results. Mr. Ramjattan’s plan to bring the racist British police to Guyana to train our young officers will only bring more of the same, since the British police are infamous for their brutality, especially when it comes to African youth in Britain. Arming the police with the latest high tech and most powerful weapons is also not a credible solution.
OVP calls on the government of Guyana:
- To order an immediate halt to extra-judicial killings
- To declare their firm and unanimous commitment to the principle that Black Lives Matter;
- To commit to the complete and thorough overhaul of the Guyana Police Force, a hideous creature left behind by the authoritarian colonial state.
- To establish economic projects in the poorest communities that will lead to youth empowerment and decently paid employment. Such projects must, by necessity, involve overall and meaningful development for the entire community. These projects must start in the very poorest communities, communities where the green and yellow flag flew proudly during the run up to the recent general elections;
- To introduce programs which redirect and train gang leaders so that they can meaningfully participate in the positive development and leadership of their communities.
Gerald Perreira, chairperson of the Organization for the Victory of the People (OVP), can be reached at Gerald@ovpguyana.org.