Today there is loud talk of the militarization of the opposition. It is part of the mauling of apprehensive supporters, through persistent injections of fear. This was followed by the comment of “big trouble” brewing; and the bravado of being “battle ready.” More and more this has progressed beyond the regular stridency of an election campaign, and clearly into the ferocity of war talk from a war party. Today, however, the focus is on this business about “militarization.”
First, there is this pointed slur against those who have served this country loyally, including during multiple PPP administrations. To attach sinister motives to their presence in the opposition ranks is not only disturbing, but dangerous. The concern is self-serving, and ignores conveniently what has grown exponentially in this society under the PPP. That is, the militarization of this society, through its own policies and actions, and its failures, too.
There are over 30,000 legal firearm holders in this country; the great majority of them came into being in the last 23 years of PPP rule. Some of these firearms holders are in business, many of those businesses cannot stand rigorous scrutiny, or any scrutiny for that matter. For certainty, more than most of those approved firearm holders are party supporters and insiders. This is what was attributed to Raphael Trotman, then AFC leader, in a Stabroek News article dated May 17, 2009 and titled “Combination approach needed to rid society of illegal weapons –Ramotar, Trotman”
According to Trotman, the PPP/C administration has to take some responsibility for the situation, given the high number of gun licences it has issued since it assumed office. Many holders of gun licences have no business with weapons, he said, noting that taxi-drivers and market vendors are among those who have been granted permits. “They are people who are connected, but did not qualify under the normal justification of life, limb and business,” he said. This is the same party that is inciting fear now through comments on “the militarization of the opposition” when it has seeded prolifically, but carefully, its own ranks, through the licensing process.
Then, there is the alarming situation involving illegal weapons. Reference is again made to the previous 2009 SN article to highlight comments from the ruling party. Then PPP General Secretary Donald Ramotar told Stabroek News that the party has found that the amount of weapons on the road is one of the contributors to violent crime. He noted that the proliferation of illegal weapons is fuelled by other illegal activities, which bring in guns and lead to further criminal activity. For emphasis, the statement attributed to Mr. Ramotar is repeated thatthe proliferation of illegal weapons is fuelled by other illegal activities. This is same leader and party that have repeatedly dismissed the massive presence of corruption in this country and its reach and consequences; the same party that has allowed the narcotics and anti-money laundering business to take root and flourish here; the same party that has a known history of running interference and protecting high level perpetrators of serious crimes, and wanted in other jurisdictions; and the same party under whose auspices unfamiliar words such as phantom squad, contract killers, hit men, and execution-style killing entered the local lexicon. As if to corroborate all of the foregoing, Stabroek News carried a story in May 11, 2010 titled: “YWCA says over 150,000 illegal guns in city.” That was almost five years ago and almost certainly on the high side then. It might not be so farfetched today, if extended beyond Georgetown.
Clearly, and whatever the number, illegal guns are part of the undeniable social (and political) realities of this country. Who made these realities possible? It is the same folks now bellowing about the militarization of the opposition. Think about this: arms smuggling and illegal guns were virtually unheard of during the Burnham regimes; of course, so too was any whiff of a drug industry. But now all of these deadly things: drugs and money laundering empires and illegal guns are intricately embedded in the heart and gut of this land, compliments of a conniving PPP cabal, which now speaks unashamedly and irresponsibly of “militarization of the opposition.”
Recently, former Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defense Force, Brigadier Collins (Ret) reminded this nation of the invaluable assistance rendered by the GDF in ridding this country of a drug empire. He should know, as he was on the receiving end of those frantic cellphone calls from the people who were seeking to thwart a U.S. enforcement activity, and the same group that speaks of the militarization of the opposition. None should be fooled.
All in all, the PPP has exhibited the truculence characteristic of desperation: It sounds more and more like a party on the way out (and knowing so), but striving frantically to make the result closer, so that it can introduce other calculations. Meanwhile, the psychic assault and battery through fear and hate continues relentlessly with more ugliness promised.