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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Thoughts on assisting Guyana after Lusignan and Bartica

Guyana is now engaged with a guerilla army with no political motivation. The mass execution at Lusignan and murderous attack at Bartica were so violent that even the population of Jamaica, reputed murder capital of the Caribbean, would have leaned back, drawn a breath and muttered a collective b----claat!

Guyana is a Caribbean brother, and the Guyanese population in Trinidad increases daily - legally and illegally. The latter group can pose its own set of problems, given the attendant costs of dealing with illegal immigration, our country having become a safe haven for displaced foreign nationals.

The bigger problem now though is that it's not you and me alone looking on as these twenty-something men wreck havoc along the Essequibo. It's all of Trinidad and Tobago, including our ever-boldening miscreants, delinquents and reprobates.

Consequently, the faster and more efficiently that these attacks in Guyana can be snuffed is the faster the spirit behind them will be contained and near-assured copycatting across the Caribbean can be avoided.

Now, if these fellas get a chance to run, there's the distinct possibility that they won't head into Venezuela, Suriname or Brazil, Guyana's Western, Eastern and Southern neighbours. They may head right here to Trinidad where they will blend in with our diverse Afro-population, hiding out with some Afro-Guyanese higgler (or live-in housekeeper!) who has little love for Indo-Guyanese persons. Consider that several Trinidadian bandits have ended up in St. Vincent and Grenada to hide from the law. Read back your papers and you will see.

Our government has already committed weapons and a helicopter for air support. It might also be helpful to quietly send in some of our Sandhurst-trained commandoes to help President Jagdeo's defence force deal with these murderers strategically and incisively.

Personally, I'm glad that the offer to help was extended, and that in a spirit of Caribbean cooperation. We seem too to have the military capacity to do so. I'd like to think that if we were in a tight spot that our CARICOM neighbours would put out a helping hand too.

It's also my sincere hope that other Caribbean leaders step up and offer whatever they can. The Caribbean people have done it before for Grenada, Montserrat and Jamaica. There's no reason that we can't do it again now.

Perhaps though this can be the precursor to a properly organised Caribbean-based defence initiative which allows us to further reduce reliance on the metropole, and moves us one step closer, even through tragedy, to a single pan-Caribbean nation.

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