May 11, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – Something is happening in Guyana that is now so overbearing that it calls out, indeed cries out, for much frank and forceful positions. It is that some serious form of bail reform is now long overdue. The more we look at some of the more recent developments surrounding the granting of bail in the local court system, the more we are mystified at what takes place. A better word might be infuriated and perplexed, given what has happened, which makes for absolutely no sense, absolutely none at all.
As one example, there was the coverage last week in this paper of an alleged perpetrator, who can only be accurately described as a serial offender. He was granted bail for his latest alleged criminal escapade, which resulted in a law-abiding citizen going about regular business, who was accosted and assaulted, through the yanking of a chain from the neck. The concern and problem are that this was not the only alleged incident of banditry laid in the lap of this young offender. It was neither the first nor second, for there were other incidents and other victims of his criminal predations. We did a rough count, and we came up with at least three such situations, maybe a fourth one as well. He was remanded before, granted bail before, freed before, went out into society before and robbed again and again before. But there he was, being granted bail yet again.
Something is wrong here. What is going on here? Why are these inexplicable situation occurring and recurring with what could be reasonably termed a fair degree of frequency? We ask again why is this so, how this could possibly be so? Listen to some schools of thought on the street and the knowing talk is of money involved, much money that is spent to make sweet things happen. Things such as providing the necessary incentives to make minds a bit more sympathetic, a little more helpful in the latitude of discretion that is available, and put to rewarding use; in some instances, it is what is very helpful to those who feared looking at the inside of a cell from the inside of it. Things such as the freedom that is bought and paid for in full, and which endangers an unsuspecting population over and over again. One of the words making the rounds on the street is that an alleged perpetrator, who shocked even the jaded in this society, in the way he callously brutalised a foreign woman (not the first), has been quietly released back out to the street. There is the widespread and settled belief that his people have the resources and the connections that get things done. And they are done to the detriment of the citizens of this society, who are forced to exist like virtual prisoners in their own homes, and as frightened deer on the roads and streets.
Something has to give here, and we make a start by offering some simple suggestions in bail reform thinking. Take the discretion out of the hands of the presiding magistrates and other jurists at the higher levels of the local justice system. Discretion should be allowed for the first strike, with bail granted. After that, it must be, do the crime, then spend the time waiting in jail, as a guest of the State, until the case is called for trial. There should be no discretion allowed for crimes involving guns, whether fired or not. Alternatively, in those instances where the victims have been injured and had to be hospitalised. We also suggest that the pattern of granting bail by all presiding court officers be reviewed periodically (at least semi-annually) by an independent group of civil society members. We must have the check and balance of a viable watchdog agency. These go far in sending the right messages to all those involved.
We understand that some officers of the court are aware of overcrowding in holding facilities, and that they need to be wise to that reality. Nonetheless, their priorities must be fairness, while bearing in mind the security interests of the society, the vulnerability of citizens, and reckless and endangering predations of serial criminals. Yet, as we take into consideration all of these factors, there is still bewilderment at some of the instances in which bail is granted. They do not add up, at least not when subject to ventilation in the public light.
Jun 19, 2021Kaieteur News – Athletics Guyana (AG) Senior Championships commenced yesterday at the National Track and Field Facility, Leonora. In the Men’s 110m hurdles, Hosea Glen of Guyana Defence...
Jun 19, 2021
Jun 19, 2021
Jun 19, 2021
Jun 19, 2021
Jun 18, 2021
Kaieteur News – I don’t believe that there was a multi-dimensional argument that went into the rejection of the dangerous,... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]