It would be premature for any assessments to be made at this stage of the Commission of Inquiry into the Linden shootings. In fact, it would be premature and unwarranted for any conclusions to be drawn until the Commission has completed its work and submitted its report.
It does seem however as if the combined opposition is in panic mode and feel that they may not be able to establish the case that they hoped they would have been able to do when the Commission got going a few weeks ago.
No doubt, facing a desperate situation, the opposition is doing what it has become quite versed in: it is engaging in sideshows aimed at creating scapegoats for its own failures to prosecute its case. This is nothing new and has been part of the history of opposition politics in Guyana, particularly after 1997.
When the opposition fails to prove that it was cheated at elections, it brings into disrepute the reputation of those manning the electoral machinery.
The opposition in Guyana is not known to assume responsibility for its own failures; it hates to admit its shortcomings and is extremely adept at deflecting these failures and shortcomings onto others. It wants others to be held accountable and responsible but it does not hold itself to such standards.
The recent controversies concerning police actions have led to the opposition targeting two persons, the Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon and the Home Affairs Minister, Clement Rohee.
The ante against both of these individuals is likely to be upped in the coming days with possible mass protests being organized. What is bitterly ironic is that the opposition is not awaiting the outcome of the findings of the Commission of Inquiry into the Linden unrest. It has decided that the Home Affairs Minister must go, regardless of what is the outcome of the Commission of Inquiry. It is prejudging the outcome of the Commission of Inquiry no doubt because it feels that its case is about to collapse.
This prejudging is nothing new. One recalls that during the 1997 election petition case, no less than Senior Counsel Desmond Hoyte made public pronouncements on the evidence, trying to stir up public sentiments and emotions even before the case had been concluded.
In the present instance, the danger however goes beyond arriving at conclusions before all the evidence has been heard. The timing of mass protests is suspicious, since the mobilization is taking place during the week in which the Commission was not meeting and the mass protests are expected to be at their height just as the Commission is returning to conclude the taking of evidence.
The mass protests can therefore have an intimidating effect on the work of the Commission and this is to be deplored in the strongest possible manner. No attempt, whether deliberate or incidental, should be made to intimidate the work of the Commission.
The mass protests can have this effect especially since it seems to be based on facetious grounds.
All peace-loving people should reject this masquerade by the combined opposition and should reject the attempt at mass protests and call for the removal of the Minister of Home Affairs even before the work of the Commission is concluded.
The opposition is using the Minister as a scapegoat. They are holding the Minister responsible for what they perceive as operational recklessness by the members of the Police Force. But quite shockingly, they are not holding anyone in the hierarchy of the Police Force responsible.
In fact, APNU continues to express confidence in the leadership of the Police Force, quite a bizarre contradiction, considering their protests over police shootings of civilians in two incidents.
The refusal to hold members of the police hierarchy responsible is of course nothing new. The most embarrassing and disgraceful crisis that has ever faced the police occurred a few years ago when the phone of a senior police officer was bugged and recordings, including some nasty personal issues, were made public.
It was an embarrassment of monumental proportions that should have led to calls for resignations. Imagine the sensitive national security information that was compromised because of the bugging of the phone at Police Headquarters. Imagine the many failed operations that resulted simply because confidentiality was compromised. Imagine how many whistle-blowers and top-secret intelligence that ended up in the hands of the underworld.
Imagine the consequences for the safety and security of police ranks and informers because of the breach of the security of the phone of the senior officer involved.
Despite this, there was never any call by the opposition for anyone within the Police Force to resign. Yet today they want the Home Affairs Minister to resign so that they can go and tell the people that at least some justice was achieved.
The opposition has built up the hopes of their supporters concerning the outcome of the Commission of Inquiry. But now it seems as if the opposition is panicking and is now resorting to finding political scapegoats for their own shortcomings.
Instead of “pampazetting” itself through the organization of mass protests, the opposition should devote more effort to building their case concerning the deaths of the three persons at Linden.
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