It is nothing short of amazing the things that the Guyanese people are expected to swallow. Take the recent case where a causing death by dangerous driver is allowed to flee the justice system all because of his connections. A review of the salient elements of this sordid matter is essential so that people could get a better understanding of the farcical existence that passes for living in Guyana.
A wife standing in the corner of the road awaiting transportation after leaving her place of work where she ekes out a living to assist in the support of her family is struck down and killed by a driver whose blood alcohol content level is well over the legal limit. After the initial dilly dallying, including the insulting attempt to buy off the woman’s relatives the young man who resided in Prado Ville II is charged albeit reluctantly by the police.
The situation then moves from the sublime to the ridiculous where after attending court on a few occasions the defendant disappears. There is no indication that he was ordered to lodge his passport with the authorities as obtains with other less seriously charged persons. According to the more knowledgeable in these matters, even if he had been directed to lodge his travel document with the court or even the police that was no ironclad guarantee that he would not have disappeared.
The reasoning is that even if the defendant’s name was on some blacklist at the country’s ports of exit and entry he could just as easily have departed these shores quite unmolested.
Those in the know among us have pointed out that the way things are going, for a price, anyone can secure a passport in a new identity. This aspect is not totally unbelievable, since what else can explain one of life’s ironies where a prominent suspected hitman was granted a US visa.
The belief that the General Registrar Office is not current on many issues lends itself to all kinds of potential for manipulation and subterfuge, and by logical extension to the level of scrutiny that can be exercised by the immigration authorities.
That belief is not without merit particularly considering the fragile political environment fraught with distrust and angst. It is to be wondered if anyone can really predict that the GRO is not an unwitting participant in a grand scheme to produce unqualified aliens as Guyanese with supporting bona fides in a fraudulent effort to boost the electoral prospects for the incumbent administration.
That apart, the many instances of criminally charged persons absconding should be seen for what they really are, and that is a manifestation of a broken system where no effective checks and balances exist. Just as prevalent is the involvement of law enforcement officers as facilitators, seeking to impose the will of one party, contrary in terms quite unfavourable to the other who in most cases is the injured party in impecunious circumstances. Not much is left to the imagination with respect to the zeal and interest displayed by the negotiators who more often than not are inspired by the pecuniary benefits coming their way.
It should be noted that ranks are criminally charged and – if found guilty, are penalized for permitting prisoners to escape from custody. Why then should those ranks that have been less than diligent in the performance of their duty fare any better? The examples are myriad where case jackets cannot be located and the victim or virtual complainant is left without justice all because of a few dollars more. Once there is a custody trail it ought not to be any great undertaking to detect those culpable.
Another thing is the lackadaisical attitude that attends the preparation and presentation of matters by some police prosecutors. Taken in an atmosphere where attorneys-at-law demonstrate their legal prowess, and in the process demolish the prosecution’s case it is hardly surprising that the not so straightforward matters are dismissed. In other words defendants who are confronted by a preponderance of evidence against them can either plead guilty and throw themselves at the mercy of the court, or pay an attorney to make a plea of mitigation for whatever that is worth.
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