Another reminder of what the Police Force has become

The Wendell Meusa experience is another stark in-your-face reminder of what the Guyana Police Force has become.
Up front Mr. Meusa’s forbearance should be commended, but not before questioning whether his Mandela-like demeanour was motivated by an overwhelming desire not to jeopardise his standing as national coach to the Guyana Chess team for the upcoming World Chess Olympiad in Norway.
If Mr. Meusa’s version is to be believed, then one wonders if we should hold our breaths awaiting an apology from the police in the same manner that they are quick to write what passes for responses to public concerns and complaints.
A citizen is held in custody for over 72 hours without a proper investigation being conducted into his alleged involvement in an attempted robbery and the fact that to date we have heard not one word of regret from the police is unacceptable. Imagine the number of unreported cases where people are deprived of their freedom of movement in direct contravention of the Constitution of the country and subjected to among other things racial slurs and physical abuse.
The former claim tells us that racial prejudices are being acted out in an organization which surely should have a zero tolerance for practices of that nature. This incident clearly shows that what is definitely needed at this juncture in the relations between the police and the rest of the citizenry is a more robust recourse to litigation in all situations like the one Mr. Meusa had to endure.
One nuance evident in the whole episode is the refusal of the individual to support Mr. Meusa’s story of how he came to be involved in the first place.  Again, if Meusa is speaking the truth it would appear as if having been drawn into the affair by the brother of the virtual complainant Meusa was left on his own, with the woman’s brother flatly refusing to speak on his behalf.  It would seem as if the brother took the position that a look-alike in racially bifurcated Guyana, in the hands of the police was enough satisfaction for him in terms of getting justice for his sister. This is one surefire indication of why people should be extremely hesitant about rendering assistance in similar situations if there is the very real possibility of starting out as a good Samaritan and ending up being detained as the accused.
That sordid incident brings to the fore the issue of supervision at police stations at these times.  Anyone familiar with the myriad complaints made about police behaviour may justifiably wonder if the senior officers only perform 8-4 duties, leaving ranks unsupervised during critical periods.  The police administration can speak of police reform all they want, but their talk is not supported by positive action in that regard. If anything, it looks as if there are elements who are bent on retarding any movement in that direction. How can a man be detained for so long without a senior rank inquiring into the matter?
Which brings us to the realization as to the fundamental relationship between lack of supervision, acts of police brutality and torture, at police stations.  But much worse than that is the incapacity of the police to admit that they were wrong, and to give assurances that the situation which gave rise to citizen dissatisfaction in the first place will be dealt with expeditiously. Initiatives must go way past a few cosmetic and increasingly selective efforts in the name of discipline.  It is unfair to take the easy way out by transferring problem ranks from one location to become problems in another community.
Guyanese deserve much more service and protection than the Guyana Police Force is willing to give.  It simply is not enough to mouth-off about police reform to assuage an image of rank incompetence and rampant corruption throughout the force.  If the “rotten apples” at all levels are not reformed or removed, all of us will be consumed by our fears, even as we seek to survive in the face of unrelenting image of brutality that the Guyana Police Force seems unwilling to relinquish