City Hall must rein in rangers


THE National Capital District Commission needs to rein in their city rangers because their conduct is leaving a lot to be desired.
Almost daily there are stories of brutality and intimidation with the way these men are carrying out their jobs.
It is a matter that should not be accepted but at the same time nor is it the fault of one party alone.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that the group of men assigned by city hall to clear the public streets of unauthorised vendors and peddlers is using strong arm tactics to enforce city ordinance.
The idea behind the city rangers is something that has merit – it deploys groups of men who would otherwise be part of the city’s unemployed masses in a worthwhile and useful task and that is to help keep the city’s main streets and walkways clean and to ensure a sense of decorum outside businesses and state departments properties, along pavements and basically wherever people are wont to congregate.
The commission has continuously spread the message of keeping a clean and beautiful city and for every citizen to exercise their civic duty by not littering, chewing betel nut and generally causing a mess.
That is a perfectly reasonable goal but it is in its implementation that employees of the commission are falling short of public expectation.
Beating up and brutalising people trying to make a living is simply not the way to go about achieving that aim.
It borders on criminal conduct.
Furthermore, using force and coercion to make people follow a law can only sow the seeds of resentment and mistrust with the commission.
This is where strong leadership is needed.
Governor Powes Parkop by now should be aware of the problems that his city rangers are causing.
If he is not or if he claims to be ignorant of the deeds of his minions then therein lies the root of the programme’s failure to effectively carry out its role in the city.
To many city residents, the ranger is closer to a thug than a city hall employee.
Sadly, the same can be said of some members of the police force.
That perception has been continuously reinforced by the poor and at many times violent conduct of these men.
Parkop has built his governorship on being a champion of the little people,
the grassroots, which make up the majority of the
city’s 700,000 plus population.
Surely the good governor should appreciate that many of his constituency live below the poverty line and are for the most part unemployed but in many regards self reliant.
It is that need to survive that drives these people to continuously defy commission edicts about selling their wares on street corners in the busier parts of the city. With poverty the underlying cause, perhaps Parkop can redirect some of the vast amounts of the commission’s resources to programmes that will give this sector of society a chance to prosper and at the very least be able to provide for their wants and needs in a way that does not require them to repeatedly break commission rules.
If Parkop thinks the current approach is working then he is either blind to
the heart of the matter (poverty) and is so intent on fitting this square peg in the round hole that he is oblivious to the cost of his programme.
We have already seen cases of deaths being caused as a result of the actions of over-zealous rangers and they have now come to be considered by the public at large as little more than a group of thugs.
If Parkop wants his rangers to be able to do their jobs properly and competently then he would probably be better served spending the time and effort to train them in this regard.
It is doubtful whether any of the rangers have training or are certified to interact with the public professionally or with some sense of what is right and wrong conduct what is lawful and what is not.
That inherent failure alone undermines what Parkop and his administration is trying to accomplish and it is more the fault
of those who make the
decisions in city hall then
it is of the men on the ground.
The buck surely must stop with Parkop in this regard.

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