By GHK Lall
Kaieteur News – I continue to probe to make some sense of some of the things that made the news last week, and I come up mostly short.
There was the KN story about two men robbed of millions in valuables in a country restaurant, over which I could be challenged for blaming the victim(s). I try, if only to help somebody agree that commonsense is better than book sense, and street sense safer than any foolish sense of invincibility. Certainly, there is freedom to live how we wish, within lawful bounds, which is what the men relieved of their expensive property did. But, that same freedom must be fused to sensible choices. It is disturbing that anyone would think themselves so invulnerable, that they walk about with six gold chains and other jewellery valued around G$2.75M. As I see this, it is inviting the wrong kind of attention and the worst criminal action, which occurred. It is a loud advertisement of ‘it is here, come and get a share.’ Thankfully, no one was harmed, now routine in the banditry business, and not shrunk from, either to absorb or inflict great physical damage, mostly inflicted. We know better, and it would be encouraging, if some don’t continue to tempt the fates, by making themselves such attractive targets. We have to be more sensible, and show some learning and adapting to a dangerous criminal environment, by exercising some deeper discretion.
Then, the latest coverage of the election petition in KN caught my eye. I am troubled that in a land with so many swaggering loudmouth lawyers – legal legends in their own minds – that we have to reach for counsels from foreign lands to stand as advocates on behalf of the adversarial parties. Local lawyers claim unmatched wisdoms in the interpretations of the law here, and of the corrupting and clashing provisions in the nation’s constitution. Yet there we were, as we were forced to pursue outside counsel (in the geographical sense of the word) to interpret the Guyanese Constitution, and with respect to specific clauses on elections. There ought to be none better at us at interpreting our own constitution, and wage a war to the finish in spirited representation. Instead, the parties in the petition are not buying local, or trusting it; they go foreign. I understand that local counsel may attract unnecessary prejudices. Or that fresh strategies, approaches, and voices are needed and could be the difference makers between winning and losing in what is a high stakes rearguard action at salvaging something from elections ashes. Though I extend some recognition to that, I did not see Americans reaching for outsiders in the recent election court petitions filed by Democrats and Republicans. They consider themselves better than any at taking care of their own nasty domestic affairs, which is what was done before in Bush v. Gore. Can any Guyanese see the British calling for legal help from externals? I would be encouraged to observe that we believe that we can stand on our own two feet, and live and die by that conviction.
And just when the outlook seems more and more hopeless, a mother brought some light, when she came out on the right side of what had to be an agonising decision. This mother from Dazzle (sic) Housing Scheme had a choice: condone what is considered criminal actions by her own son or give him up to the waiting pleasantries of law enforcement officers. She chose the hard one. It is easy to say from this distance that it is encouraging, but it is doubtful that many would make that decision, when faced with such a stark situation. Citizens don’t when their political leaders betray the nation. Families don’t when possessing familiarity with the terrible criminal deeds of loved ones. Friends don’t, comrades don’t, neighbours don’t. I applaud that mother, and wish there were more like her. We would be a less crime-plagued place, which would encourage.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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