Primitive life in 21st century Guyana
The Parliament in Guyana has a mountain of primitive legislations to repeal from the twelve years of Bharrat Jagdeo mal administration. In such a formidable task, many horrible Bills will have to wait another decade.
One such law is the Narcotics Act which provides for three years’ imprisonment if convicted for the possession of a marijuana cigarette. We Third World people love to cuss down our former white masters. But can we non-Caucasian people match the white man’s quality?
There is a school of thought that shamelessly concludes that the Caucasian race is genetically more superior in intelligence than the darker races in human civilization. I don’t believe that. But I do know that the primitive nature of Third World people and their leaders encourage white racists in Europe, Australia and the US to think so.
We may hate them for seeing us in such inferior terms but the post-colonial word is very much a region of the world that has not kept up with modern psychology.
VS Naipaul is in his mid seventies and will go to his grave believing that the non-Caucasian world is inferior to Anglo-Saxons. Maybe even in parts of the Third World, racist, genetic arguments hold. The Bollywood film industry glories white complexion. They obviously think the lighter your skin, the better is the quality of your blood.
In Guyana, a marijuana cigarette can cause an innocent college student to end up in jail while possession of the same amount is legal in Holland. Being found with a mere utensil for smoking pot carries the same penalty as possession of the drug itself.
How can any government have on the statute books, legislation to jail people who are found with a utensil for smoking marijuana? How could President Desmond Hoyte’s Government have been so stupid as to put that anachronism into the Narcotics Act? By the same logic, the police should charge every human being who does not have a job as a cane cutter found with a cutlass.
Suppose I find a pipe for inhaling marijuana and I kept it. Why should I be punished if I did not put the thing inside of it and smoked it? There is mace that women carry in their handbag in case they are attacked. But shouldn’t possession of that be illegal? What if the woman carries it around to rob taxi drivers? It is the same logic with the marijuana utensil. If a man is not a fisherman, what is he doing with fishing net in his car trunk? Maybe it is to throw around the body of women whom he kidnaps to rape.
But at a road block the police would never question a driver about what he is doing with the net in his car.
This is a country where primitive laws are used to permanently imprison people who are freed of jury trials in the High Court. The DPP can now appeal criminal matters that the defence won before a judge and jury. There is now an automatic appeal once a murder accused is freed.
When the law came in, you thought that such appeals would be rare, centering on glaring cases of the misapplication of the law.
The DPP would appeal an acquittal of death by dangerous driving when the facts revealed that the driver was badly intoxicated and the surveillance camera showed that he zigzagged into the path of the pedestrian. Surely, something is wrong with an acquittal there.
What happens in the High Court these days is the prosecution automatically gives notice of an appeal once a murder accused is freed. Then there is bail. The prosecutor inevitably requests the denial of bail. So you spend five years on remand; a judge and jury free you but you languish in jail for another five years because you cannot post bail.
I did two columns on the Mahaicony dance hall organizer who was charged for tax evasion of a few thousand dollars by the GRA (oh my God was a travesty!). When bail was posted at $45,000, his family could not find that amount and scared like hell, he broke away from the police escort and jumped into the Mahaicony River where he died. What I did not know until two weeks ago when I read it in KN is that the rank shot at him while he was drowning.
In a modern land, that policeman, the GRA lawyer and the magistrate would have been charged with gross human rights violations. All three are still in their respective jobs and perpetual angst is tormenting my psyche.