Guyana Guardian

Criminals are incited by a vehicular hire-purchase free pass in Guyana – says retired crime sleuth

BMW Concept Gran Coupé, 3/4 Rear (04/1010)BMW Concept Gran Coupé, 3/4 Rear (04/1010)

A now retired British criminal profiler is suggesting that the simplicity with which a young unemployed person can acquire a vehicle on hire-purchase in Guyana should be re-examined if the state is to make it harder for young emerging criminals to flourish.

Tim Caine, a former Scotland Yard operative who had spent over thirty years profiling and tracking down emerging criminal offenders in Britain, was able to determine that a large percentage of young males are generally attracted to fast cars, motorcycles, brand name attire, and high-priced gadgets, for one reason or the other.

And if they cannot acquire a car, a motorcycle or an expensive gadget such as a high-end mobile phone by lawful means, many are often inclined to take a quick shot at crime since they believe that they can easily acquire large amounts of cash by that means in a few minutes, and hence get an opportunity to quickly live in their material desires, especially to impress upon friends.

While Britain has a much stricter policy regarding hire purchase sales or vehicular credit to young unemployed persons, Guyana has none, since a young person do not need to state their job, or convince an auto dealer here that they are in a position to lawfully obtain monies to pay the required installments for a motor vehicle.

For most of it, once the local car dealers gets the required down-payment for a vehicle, that is all that really matters until the time comes to probably reposes the said vehicle.

No financial background checks or any character pre-requisites are usually required to determine who they might be extending credit to, or whether the deposited finances are not proceeds from a crime.

On the other hand, the young and unemployed new car owner (which generally ranges from between ages 19 to 25), are often either force to use the same vehicle to commit crimes in order to make up their monthly payments or simply engage in other remote criminal activities so as to source the money, since even an average job for a young adult in Guyana usually cannot afford the monthly installments of around $70,000 in any case.

But what is even more alarming is the fact that many parents and relatives never seem to be alarmed when their 19 or 25 year old unemployed or low-waged family member purchases a new car or a motor cycle. After all, it matters more to them that a new car or motorcycle is parked in the family garage much to their benefit.

As such, ret. Detective Caine suggests that a combined job profile, income profile, and funding statement form should have been required at the time of a vehicular hire-purchase, and for which a duplicate copy should have been lodged with the police for observation records.

He suggested that the claimed origin of the usually required one million or two million dollars down-payment should also be noted on the form since that payment itself could have also been acquired via criminal activities. And if the police have a purchase record, the law should allow them to determine whether to investigate the origin of the funds that was used for a purchase if needs be.

In any case, he sufficed that an unemployed person should have naturally be caused to provide strict proof of funding or a proper statement as to how and where they intend to acquire monies to pay the required installments for a three million dollar car for example.

Furthermore, he is of the view that the Guyana Revenue Authority should not allow registration of a new vehicle unless a purchaser profile lodgment receipt from the police is provided with the other current list of standard documents.

In that way, it will be established that the police is in possession of a purchaser profile for their records and investigative reference if needs be.

He sufficed that while a genuine buyer would have no problem with such a simple record lodgement process, criminal elements, their front persons or a money launderer would have some serious issues with the implementation of such a policy.

Auto dealers might also see it as a potential sale dragger for their businesses, especially if they are not the ones being targeted by criminals.

But in his view, such a policy will make it difficult for criminals to enjoy their crime proceeds in one major way, and will furthermore contribute to a possible twenty to thirty percent reduction of big-cash robberies and other major cash-driven crimes in Guyana.

However, two car dealers who were interviewed by the Guardian explained that the ratio of very young car buyers below the age of 25 (which they put at about one in every twenty-five car sales) is relatively small when compared to about eighteen in every twenty-five motorcycle sale.

Moreover, they stressed that rough figures would show that around 90% of all robberies are committed by bandits using motorcycles, especially the Honda CG.

The car dealers are of the view that the profiling of all motorcycle sales whether by cash or credit would be the first place where the authorities should start with such a policy since car-associated robberies are relatively lower in ratio.

They also emphasize that a large number of young car owners in Guyana are gold miners who hardly maintains any proper financial record, followed by overseas-based Guyanese who would usually make their purchase orders from abroad.

About the Author

Andrea Fernandes
Andrea Fernandes is an Assistant Editor at the Guyana Guardian.

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