Apr 08, 2020 News
By Shikema Dey
It was Prime Minister and Head of the National COVID-19 Task Force, Moses Nagamootoo, who recently urged the police force to come up with “creative” ways to enforce the COVID-19 curfew since many Guyanese are not adhering to the order.
The order in place outlines a number of measures including persons being restricted to their homes with only essential workers allowed out.
The restrictions have halted all crowds at weddings, funerals and religious places of worship, creeks and pools. But even with the curfew system activated, it is clear that some people are not heeding the measures invoked by virtue of a presidential order.
However, the law enforcement officers were warned against this by the Bar Council of the Bar Association of Guyana which has urged them to “respect human rights.”
The Prime Minister while making his “creative ways” comment, referenced several online videos showing police in India whipping citizens who flouted the curfew there.
In fact, Prime Minister Nagamootoo stated his personal view, that “if it’s necessary to go into the bars, if they got to pull them out of the bars by their ears, I will say yes, get them out, send them home…and that’s the way to go.”
But the Bar Association in a statement sought to remind the Guyana’s law enforcers that as organs of the state, they are subject to the Rule of Law and the provisions of the Constitution of Guyana.
“We take this opportunity to highlight the right of every citizen under Article 141 of the Constitution not to be subjected to inhuman and or degrading treatment.”
The Bar Council stressed that “the components of the right to secure protection of the law under Article 144 of the Constitution, require that a punishment be prescribed by a Court of law, after following all the hallmarks of due process.”
The Bar Council clarified too, that “It is not the role of the Police to determine and or assign punishment for an alleged breach or enforcement.”
Moreover, the Council has classified as reckless and ill-advised, the suggestions made by the Prime Minister “to pull persons by their ears”, taken together with him alluding to examples he saw on social media of police officers in other countries beating persons and inflicting other public policy punishment.
“Guyanese are human beings, not animals, and are thereby entitled to such fundamental rights and freedoms as enshrined in the Constitution,” the Council maintained.
Added to that, the Council reminded the Disciplined Services must, at all times, “operate within the confines of law and cannot employ extra-judicial means in the enforcement of the COVID-19 Emergency Measures.”
The Bar Council also called on Guyanese to be responsible in their conduct and urged them to take heed of the curfew order in place.
“As we exercise our individual fundamental rights, this exercise is not to be in breach of our respective duties of care,” the Council added.
Guyanese you are being prostituted by your politicians!
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