Kaieteur News – Politicians all over the world, from poor nations to superpower countries make mistakes that lead to criminal indictments. Some of the crimes are so disgusting that the comrades of the perpetrators through sheer moral demands, part company with them.
The latest scandal was MP from the Conservative Party in the UK that the then Prime Minister sacked. Go to Google and research the subject in the UK and you will see a Cabinet Minister was removed for an alleged criminal offence.
Why would any party colleague defend someone alleged to have committed a criminal offence because he is an ideological soul-mate? It is a different story altogether when the state victimizes opposition politicians. That takes the action out of criminality and into abuse of state power.
So what do we know so far about allegations of extortion and alleged involvement of Rickford Burke? Two journalists I know well because I worked with them over a period of years at Kaieteur News gave statement to the police implicating Burke.
Fact 1 – the incident does not involve politics. It is of a sociological nature about extracting money from a businessman about alleged wrong-doing by the businessman’s exposure of which can bring out embarrassment.
Fact 2 – the two journalists that I know – Gary Eleazer and Alex Wayne – have never been associated with any type of political association whatsoever. From what I know of both of them, they never had even a distant relation with the PPP.
If I was to ask which of the two major parties they feel more sympathy with, I would say the PNC. This is just my opinion though I may be wrong. I worked with both journalists and that is why I arrived at that opinion.
Fact 3 – The police have released statements from the two accused implicating Burke. Now that does not mean Burke is guilty of any offence. But the fact remains that Burke was implicated and thus the police had to act on what the accused told them.
Fact 4 – The police, not the government, not any Cabinet minister, published the implicating statements of the journalists against Burke.
Fact 5 – the story of the two journalists, the businessman and Burke is the kind of common scandal that one finds all over the world. As it stands today where is the political content of the story?
Now for the analysis. The opposition APNU+AFC and some people looking for political publicity have claimed that the government is after Burke. What is idiotic about this statement? Let’s digress and go back to the shooting in Golden Grove.
The policeman that shot and killed the Golden Grove youth was African. The accusation was he was selling guns. There was no race content to be manipulated as in September 2020 with two African youths who were murdered in Cotton Tree. But the manipulation did occur and Indian vendors were brutalized in the subsequent protest.
It is two African journalists that have given statements about Burke. There is no ethnic dimension to this story that could leave room for political conspiracy. But this is what is happening and the implications are frightening especially for women and children.
Are there opinions out there that are willing to protect politicians that commit criminal offences? If the answer is yes then how safe are women and children in Guyana? If a woman is raped by a politician, should his colleagues protect him simply because he is one of their own?
If a child is molested by a politician then does the politics of camaraderie compels his comrades to come to his rescue? In other words, unadulterated criminality finds immunity in politics.
In other words, a politician safeguards his comrade’s reputation no matter what criminal offence he commits. By the same token, lawyers rally around their colleague who robbed a client out of her house and land. By the same token, gynecologists come to the rescue of their friend even though a patient alleges she was fondled during examination.
In the end, there is no separation between unadulterated, sociological acts of crime and politics. To protect a political friend when criminal conduct is alleged to have been done is to take Guyana down the most destructive moral pathway.
Every secretary, every nurse, every female sales-clerk has to feel insecure when their assailant is a big powerful one. Every businessperson has to feel helpless when they are paid by bounced cheque and the payer is a practicing politician.
Mr. Rickford Burke has been implicated by two journalists of a serious offence. It doesn’t mean he has even done anything wrong. But if the police cannot investigate Burke because he is a political activist then Burke is bigger than the force itself.
(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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