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By Ralph SeeramThe phone call came just as I was contemplating on a topic for this week’s article. The voice on the other end said “Man you must write about this.” He had just returned from Guyana and was very displeased with what happened to his family during an Easter visit to Guyana.“What do I have to write about?” I inquired.“The corruption thing down there.”“That’s nothing new,” I replied. “Everybody knows there is corruption at all levels of Government in Guyana, from the clerks to Government Ministers.” He then started to relate his unforgettable experience to me.About seven months ago I did write an article on the level of corruption in Guyana and how it is viewed in the Diaspora. Reading Neil Marks’s interview with PPP Presidential candidate,[url=http://www.wholesalejerseyssale.us.com/]China NFL Jerseys[/url], Donald Ramotar,[url=http://www.authenticchinajerseysnfl.us.com/]China Jerseys NFL[/url], last Sunday I hurriedly ran through the story to see what he would say about corruption. I was very disappointed with his response.Two of the main reasons why Guyanese in the Diaspora said they will not go to Guyana are crime and corruption. Presidential candidate Ramotar acknowledged corruption in general terms but was very short on specifics. I did not see a word on crime.Considering the recent wave of robberies and murder committed with guns, one would have thought he would have outlined his proposal to rein in crime. Frankly I think the interviewer was too soft on the aspiring president.According to the article, Ramotar “promises to vigorously pursue an anti-corruption policy if he is elected” and went on further to say, “We can improve the system and work for the elimination of corruption.”Standard politician statements; speak without going into details.If I were a voter in Guyana I would have wanted in detail his plans for eliminations and enforcements. Mr. Ramotar claims that there is no silver bullet. Well sorry to break the news to the PPP candidate. There is a silver bullet; it is called the law. There are laws on the books on corruption, but it is the unwillingness of the PPP Government to enforce the laws without fear and favour.The problem is that if the ones at the top are thieving and accepting bribes and kickbacks it is a little difficult for them to tell the ones below not to do the same. It’s like the old Guyanese proverb, “You can’t put cat fuh watchman milk.”Would a President Ramotar tolerate a Mr. Ten Percent  or a Mr. Twenty-five Percent Government Minister in his cabinet? I am sure you know what I am speaking off.  My question to Mr. Ramotar would be, “Will you fire a corrupt public servant, be it the clerk or a Government Minister? Will you subject them to criminal prosecution? Will you legislate to increase jail time and fines or both for public servants who accept bribes or kickbacks?While you are at it make it a serious offence for anyone to offer bribes to public servants. It has to cut both ways.  This will strengthened the hand of the public to resist paying when asked for “lunch money” at the lower end,[url=http://www.cheapjerseyswholesalechina.us.com/]Discount NFL Jerseys[/url], to contractors at the higher end.Would you set up an anonymous system where people can report extortionists? And will immediate action be taken against such persons if found guilty?Coming back to my friend’s experience. He went to Guyana for a family funeral around the Easter holidays. He also took the opportunity to show his children the country. Naturally you have to travel mainly by car around the place.First trip was to the Number 63 Beach. Car stopped by two traffic police officers; driver is asked to go to back of vehicle with documents; documents are in order; police still questioning and delaying car, bringing up various scenarios on what he can be charged for, and finally asking for a G$3000 lieu of a G$7000 fine.The $3000 is to be split between her and her partner.Stop #2. His brother-in-law is stopped by traffic police. Same pattern– $3000 to proceed. Stop #3. His niece. Same modus operandi. $3000 to move on without delay.It seems that $3000 is the standard extortion fee by traffic policemen. Did I say traffic policemen? No! These are HIGHWAY ROBBERS IN POLICE UNIFORM.Funny thing was that my friend who was a senior  police officer before he left the country, tried to speak to the traffic officer mentioning that he was a senior police officer. That made no impression on the young lady who was intent on extorting her $3000. Knowing my friend, back in the day he would have arrested her on the spot.One observation my friend made was why the traffic police officers invites the driver to the back of the vehicle, this of course we know is to discuss the extortion, but it could also present a danger for that officer, instead of pulling out cash the driver could be pulling out a weapon.Here in Florida, the officer demands that you stay in your car with hands on the steering wheel. Any attempt to bribe him will immediately get you arrested and taken to jail.While Mr. Ramotar did not say what he will do to control crime,[url=http://www.nikehuarachecheap.us.com/]Cheap Nike Huarache Shoes[/url], I would suggest revamping the police force. First bring in a new Commissioner of Police from abroad, Canada, U.K or the U.S.A., as well as some senior police officers and give them a free hand.Nothing new here. Jamaica and Trinidad went that route. If the public has confidence in the police force the police will get a better response from them in helping to solve crimes. Right now, how many Guyanese citizens really trust the police? A lot of tourists don’t. They feel that it is someone in the airport that tips off criminals of their arrivals and address of their destination.How else can you explain bandits waiting at their destination when they arrive from the airport? A criminal, it seems, has no fear of the police. Let me explain what I mean.Back in Berbice when I was a reporter there was squad of detectives headed by Detective Inspector Fitzroy Duff. The New Amsterdam Police Station lies across the entrance of the New Amsterdam ferry stelling.Whenever a detective spots a known criminal arriving from the stelling, he would be asked his business in Berbice and regardless of the answer was told, “Yuh going back to Georgetown with the same boat right.”The criminal would have no choice but to go back. That was fear and respect,[url=http://www.cheapnflchinajerseys.co/]Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic[/url], no brutality. Of course the detectives know the criminal’s only reason to be there was to commit a crime or crimes. I have not even touched on plans for reorganizing the Judiciary, but that is a story for another day.Ralph Seeram can be reached at email: [email protected]

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