Nov 27, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – There is a settled rhythm to the path that some issues follow in this country. They are not the everyday, run-of-the-mill matters that come up a million times, and of which nobody gives a care. Rather, it is of those extraordinary, and unacceptable, developments that leave many Guyanese wondering what we really have here for law, and the people manning its obligations, and piloting it forward. One of these extraordinary matters was presented by us: “DPP returns file on PS in kickback scandal to police for second time” (KN November 8).
This retracing of steps certainly leaves a lot to be desired and many troubling questions unanswered. We struggle as to why it should be necessary for this second return of the file to the Guyana Police Force (GPF), relative to the scandal allegedly pointing to the PS. It could be simple human error, the pressure of circumstances, or much more. We would hope that a way is not being looked for, so that agents of the state, from within whichever institution they operate, could back away. Or are being given opportunity again to make things right. This is not without precedent. We recall where someone was charged with a felony that menaced a cop with a gun to his head, only for a couple of the officers in the GPF to embarrass themselves, because they had stepped out of turn, gone to places that they shouldn’t have. To be clear, it was not that they did anything wrong, but how the word came down, however it did, to get rid of the resulting mess.
Now a Permanent Secretary is the object of an investigation and circumstance that has done her record among official peers, and her standing in the wider community, very poorly. The least that she deserves is to be cleared at the earliest of this stench that hangs over her head and which keeps swirling around there, without going anywhere. Of course, that is, if she is in the clear; as having done nothing wrong. On the other hand, if wrongdoing, as is alleged, did occur, then the people of this society are also deserving of the justice that is due to them. When wrongdoing is made to circle around unaddressed, like hovering aircraft held mid-air, due to circumstances on the ground, such a situation is not best for all concerned and should not continue for an extended period of time. In short, it is neither healthy nor what lends itself to confidence building.
The GPF itself and the Office of the DPP are both due a facelift, in terms of how long it takes for their officers to get their act together. On issues involving great sensitivity, it is now almost part of the norm, for these unsatisfactory situations to linger, as they are passed from hand to hand. In Guyanese terms, which should ram the point home, the situation reminds of bouncing about from pillar to post, and of which nothing good could be the result. The wisdoms of the old have a great depth to them. They still have much meaning in the various contexts of life in Guyana.
We at this paper today speak on this matter of the scandal involving the PS, but not with just that alone in mind. It is to remind our fellow Guyanese that other matters which engage the attention on other areas in our law enforcement machinery, including its checks and balances, do not inspire the trust and credibility that should be automatic. We present a few examples of matters that are hanging around, seemingly looking for some home, but not knowing which one, or who must make the call.
There is the investigation into the death of Peter Headley that has taken too long to close out. The killing of Orin Boston in Dartmouth that is now lost from public view. And that of a connected Regional Officer, also shrouded in mystery, but involving what surely has to be the illegal discharge of a firearm, where someone was definitely injured. Private developments and settlements should neither lessen nor remove the burden of the state to seek justice. Justice must not only be done, but give every indication of being done.
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