Feb 23, 2017 Features / Columnists, Freddie Kissoon

I saw a picture of a man beaten to death. He was in his boxers only and all his limbs were brutally tied up. Villagers numbering more than two dozen stood looking at him as if he was a snake that I recall we used to beat and kill when we found them in the gutter on D’Urban Street during my small boy days in Wortmanville. What could this guy have done to receive such uncivilized treatment from his fellow humans?
This incident occurred literally 18 miles from Vreed-en-Hoop at a village named Ruby. If you add the miles from Georgetown to Vreed-en-Hoop then we are not talking about some isolated village in Guyana where the inhabitants are cut off from mainstream life. This country is not China that is very large with a population of one billion, three hundred million people. In such a vast land with a colossal population, it is possible that there are villagers removed from the main currents of life and do not frown on violence the way their counterparts do in the more developed parts of the nation. But this is Guyana, where the people of Ruby are just as modern as those in the rest of Guyana, and therefore would be as right-thinking people.
The police have laid charges, so I better leave it there. But equally depressing is the murder of a man who was stoned to death in Lethem after he and his brother were attacked. His face was brutally torn up. I grew up in South Georgetown with people pelting stones at each other during a brawl, but it was unheard of that a person would be killed by being stoned to death. You can get killed and many numbers in Guyana have died when someone threw a large rock at the head or inflicted a lash to the head with a large piece of wood. But never in all my life in this country have I ever heard about a group attacking someone they had a problem with and literally stoning him to death.
Something inexplicable has descended upon this nation. And it is not a country with millions of people; it is a land with less than 800,000 souls. What has come over the inhabitants of such a thinly populated country? You see this inexplicability every day. The way the roads are used by drivers in Guyana has no counterpart elsewhere in the world. And it is not taxi drivers and minibuses only. It is drivers in general.
I see insane driving daily and when you see the people who do these crazy things you would not believe such people are irrational. Yesterday, the traffic signals went down at a dangerous junction – Railway Embankment and Sheriff Street; it was pandemonium. Into the madness drove a woman with her small kid in the front seat. I see her type all over the roadways.
The nature of the violence defies sociological explanations. Is this country riveted by a sadistic impulse? When you read about violent deaths from robberies and other homicides it is as if you are in the United States. A woman attempted to kill her three children over a love dispute. That is straight out of the National Enquirer. These are the things you read about in the US, not in a little, poor country with a small population.
I am one of the citizens of this world that cannot bring myself to vote for the continuation of the death penalty, but I acknowledge this is not the time to argue against the death penalty; enraged people will literally cuss you down. I haven’t done the research, but I wonder if a day passes in Guyana where there isn’t a death either by violent robbery, personal disagreement, dangerous driving or suicide.
What explains the descent into bestial instincts, sadistic drives and irrational behaviour that have become ubiquitous in this land? It is outside the scope of a newspaper column to offer an elaborate sociological theory, but my thinking leads in the direction of a broken down country where there are no redemptive signs on the horizon. People then, especially the young ones (and it is not restricted to the male gender) live a resigned, pessimistic existence. In such a condition, nihilism is easily bred.
In Guyana, there is a complete lack of awareness of what values are and how important they are to humans. The ordinary Guyanese do not see their country as having admirable leaders, including our police officers. This lack of respect takes eerie forms. The future does not look good.