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Where does violence come from? Why were three school children – ages 13, 14 and 15 years – injured and had to be rushed to hospital after People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) rioters pelted their school-bus in broad daylight on Friday 6th March 2020 on the Bush Lot public road in Region No. 5? What did those children do to deserve such violence? When did this country descend to this depth of depravity?
Violence now seems to be endemic in political life. The PPP-GAWU pre-elections ‘Hurricane of protest’ of 1964 – which came to be known as the ‘Disturbances’ – was, perhaps, the earliest episode and most gruesome example of widespread civil disorder. Violence, thereafter, beset election campaigns in 1973, 1997, 2001 and 2020, leaving a lingering legacy of distrust and a frightening propensity for public disorder.
These are the opinions of former President David Granger. Speaking on his weekly programme, the Public Interest, Mr. Granger said that civil violence is avoidable and could be eliminated by enforcing the law fairly and firmly. Acknowledging that civil violence is a decades-old problem, he believes that violence no longer arises only out of political protest but is the result of tolerance of lawless activities such as back-tracking, gold-smuggling, gun-running, money-laundering and narcotics-trafficking which have normalised crime and are often accompanied by violence.
Mr. Granger pointed out that civil violence was reduced during the APNU+AFC five-year coalition administration with the establishment of the National Anti-Narcotics Agency which the PPPC dismantled, enforcement of the National Drug Strategy Master Plan which the PPPC disregarded, conduct of local government elections which the PPP/C delayed, implementation of the Security Sector Reform Plan which the PPPC rejected and with the introduction of the Social Cohesion Action Plan which the PPP/C resisted.
The former President called for these measures to be reintroduced so that civil violence could be reduced and the movement towards achieving human safety and social cohesion could be resumed.