The world can be dangerous for sexually active men
This past week many people were up in arms against the decision by Chief Justice Ian Chang in the matter involving Police Commissioner Henry Greene and a woman who accused him of raping her. The reaction was not unexpected, since from the time the Police Commissioner mounted his legal challenge to question the charge, there were people who were saying that he had started something that would swamp the legal system.
This may be true. I have never heard of a man going to court to challenge the right of the Director of Public Prosecutions to charge him. In this case, people are contending that a man about to be charged for murder could approach the court to question the decision, and they may be right.
I sat and I heard the comments, mainly from women. It was only then that I realized that so many women hated the Police Commissioner at a personal level. I heard the accusations and I heard of the threats. I was directed to comments by former Commissioner Winston Felix, who many said knew the Commissioner.
As a man in public office I would say that a man has got to think forty times before he ventures into the world of philandering. Women may be there for the taking, but such a person must be sane enough to know that he can never bed all the women who may proffer themselves.
I have known Government Ministers who got caught in such scenarios. Some paid to avoid a scandal. Freddie Kissoon always talks about a young woman who got raped by a prominent official and who was spirited out of the country.
I recently met a woman who got stranded at Bartica. She simply could not find a hotel. All had been booked solid. President Bharrat Jagdeo had taken possession of one of the hotels. As the woman told it, he came to her assistance and he gave firm instructions to the members of the party to leave the woman alone. This was informative about the attitude of the men with him.
However, many people may have missed the real issue in the Henry Greene affair. As I understood it, Greene merely moved to the courts to ask the Director of Public Prosecutions to justify her decision to have him charged with rape. The Director of Public Prosecutions does not charge.
There are those who say that the Director of Public Prosecutions needs not answer to anyone. The Chief Justice found case laws to suggest otherwise. And he was correct. If that were so then anyone could approach a corrupt DPP with money and get charges nolle prosequi. There must be checks and balances and the court is that check and balance.
So there we had the DPP providing the evidence she had to the applicant. That formed the basis for a determination. There were many aspects of the evidence that the court not only found contradictory but also contrived. In the end the Chief Justice ruled against the decision of the DPP.
Of course this would have implications for the continuation of a charge, but it does not rule out a charge against the Commissioner. It does not stop the accuser from filing private criminal charges and it surely does not stop the police from charging.
One of my colleagues at Kaieteur News was livid over the decision by the Chief Justice. He said that the Chief Justice took over the role of the High Court. I still am not sure what he meant. I do know that when I invited him to read the report on the findings by the Jamaican investigators he declined. He, as a reporter, had preconceived notions. And while that is his right, it is not the professional thing to do.
But that apart, I am forced to think about the nature of the courts, especially when an issue involves a woman. On two occasions subsequent to the Chief Justice’s decision I asked women what should happen should they report that I had raped them.
One of these women was a reporter who works with me. The conversation went something like this. “If you should walk out of here and make a report to the Brickdam Police that I raped you, what should be the outcome?” Unhesitatingly she said that they should arrest me.
I asked whether my liberty meant anything and she said ‘No.”
She did say that there should be an investigation, but if the investigation comes up with nothing, I should be charged. The upshot is that I should be charged on an allegation.
The other woman I asked had the same reaction. Charge me. This is frightening.
I saw the evidence in this matter; I happened to know something of the woman and I know about the sloth of the courts. What the Chief Justice did was to dispose of a matter that would have clogged up the courts and at worst, ended in the embarrassment of the police commissioner. There would have been no conviction.
It is not surprising that there are instances when the very people oppose certain decisions. Three people I know and appreciated ended up in court charged with treason. That charge was unnecessary and ill-conceived. The people spent fifteen months of their lives saying that they had done nothing wrong.
Some of the people who say that Henry Greene should have been prosecuted said that there should have been no treason charge. Emotions sometimes make decisions for us.