One day I will name this judge
I found myself in a confrontation with the security of the High Court. I refused to have my rights curtailed in this country without a fight. Georgetown experienced terrible rains last Friday. The rains flooded the two public entrances to the High Court. On that day, the trial of Bharrat Jagdeo’s libel suit against me resumed.
I did not sue Mr. Jagdeo. He sued me. The court has ruled that I have to offer a defence. The High Court then has an obligation to facilitate my entry into the building because I am required to be there. These two gates were so badly flooded that to gain entry into the compound of the High Court you had to take off shoes and roll up your trousers.
That water was fetid because there is a permanent sewage problem right at the public entrance of the High Court on South Road. I went to the Charlotte Street gate. That is reserved for lawyers, employees and judges. The security at the gate stopped me. I told her I was a litigant in a case and that the public openings are terribly flooded and I will not take off my shoes to walk in that dirty water. She said it was the Chief Justice’s ruling that the public be prevented from using the Charlotte Street opening.
I refused to be restrained and I walked up the High Court stairs for my libel case. When it was over, I asked the Chief Justice to relax his restriction when there are emergencies, as with the flooded gates. He said the security lied on him; he never gave such an order and that it was the Registrar of the High Court that made such a decision and that I should raise the matter with her. She was not there, but I spoke to her Secretary, Ms. Deo.
My complaint is that when there are preventions to the public entrances of the High Court, for example, the floods on Friday morning, the embargo on public use of the Charlotte Street gate should be temporarily lifted. Ms. Deo went to the security who, in my presence, confirmed that it was the Registrar who gave the instruction that the Charlotte Street pathway must not be used by the public.
Ms. Deo got on to her boss by phone and relayed my request. The Registrar refused to offer a response or make a decision. I have kindly asked Ms. Deo to inform the Registrar that I will not accept being prevented from using the Charlotte Street gate if there are instances when the South Road paths are flooded.
I am emphasizing that position of mine by printing it here. Guyanese citizens using the High Court for legitimate business should not be made to take off their shoes and walk in feces-infested water when there is an alternative, dry entrance. It is wrong, unreasonable and authoritarian to force people to that level of discomfort when a genuine exception should be made in situations of natural disasters or accidents.
I am signaling here my refusal to obey the Registrar’s edict if the public entrances to the High Court are flooded.
I do not like to be in the Supreme Court of Judicature at all. It makes me psychologically uncomfortable. I have to be there often because Bharrat Jagdeo sued me and Juan Edghill is asking a judge to send me to prison for contempt of court. The picture of the High Court in my mind whenever I am there does things to my psyche. Each time I enter that place and look at it I remember the words of Carol Horne of the US Embassy.
Ms. Horne and Ambassador Jones were annoyed at the High Court decision of Justice Chang not to order the extradition of Barry Dataram. Then Ms. Horne said that she was appalled that when Roger Khan was being searched for to be arrested by the security forces, a judge was keeping a car for Khan under his (the judge’s) home. She then named the judge. I couldn’t believe it. I could never understand why Ms. Horne did not take away his American visa.
One day I will publish the name Ms. Horne identified. By the way, what has become of the State appeal against the High Court’s decision on Barry Dataram? I called the Registry officer of the Court of Appeal, Ms. Francis, and she said the appeal is still pending. But a High Court judge told me the State has withdrawn the appeal.
I asked the High Court librarian, Mr. Maughn. He told me that then Attorney General, Doodnauth Singh, asked for a stay of the decision but Court of Appeal Judge, Charles Ramson, in chambers refused it, so Singh appealed. He promised to facilitate me tomorrow with the relevant documents. Wish me luck with my research.