Latest update May 31st, 2023 3:04 PM
May 20, 2023 Features / Columnists, News, The GHK Lall Column
Kaieteur News – It may be just short of open season on the judiciary in Guyana. But, all things considered, we may not be too far from such a grim time. the Hon Vice President fired the first salvos with his “predictable decisions” and venture into “murky waters” on behalf of all people, believe it or not, foreign investors. Dr. Jagdeo has declared himself to be the champion and patron saint of the foreign investor class. Its members are in good hands, so they should rest assured, for the time being. Next up was the Hon. Attorney General who let loose on a magistrate on another matter, one that reeks of the usual lovely local politics, with its payback circles, and endless snarling, with the judiciary now finding itself trapped in a no man’s land. When it is politics in this country that is involved, the judiciary can never win: damned if it decides this way, damned if it decides in another.
Those are the local contexts, and my concern is how does it climax, where does it end? I can understand the Vice President, who is desperate for any kind of cover he can get from any source for his stratagems and orchestrations. But I cannot understand the man of the law, the town marshal, AG Anil Nandlall. Although he has given cause to look at him most poorly recently, I still think he is made of better stuff, not necessarily, the right stuff, but better stuff than he has manifested. I believe that he knows better, but still have to ask myself if he is so far gone down the rancorous partisan road, that he has lost all of his equilibrium, all of the reasoning and rigor that should be at his fingertips, perhaps even some of the stuff on the inside. Please don’t ask me where that would be.
I hear about the right to “fair comment” and I nod in agreement. But what one man has arrogated as “fair” from himself and to himself could be calumny to another. By whatever deftness of helpful intellect that the AG has used to define his idea of what is “fair” there are legion of others outside of his roost of cheerleaders, who think that he went one attack too far, one example into which should not have been breathed any life. The nation’s attorney general can be the leading voice in the condemnation of those who cross his path, who cross up his conclusions of what ought to be. He is not the sole arbiter of knowledge or insight in this country, far from it. He can express reservations; he can voice regret; but he cannot plunge so headlong into the fray like some cheap and self-disrespecting ambulance chaser. Like I said, he shouldn’t do this to himself, for any purpose, or for any leader. There is no rationalization that can be summoned in his defense that would be sufficient to smooth this over, to coat him in knightly white.
Now, the concern is that this opens the door to an endless litany of so-called “fair comments” being hurled at offending judiciary members, i.e., those who do not adjudicate along the expected lines. In Guyana, that means the party line, which currently is the PPP line. I don’t think that I recall hearing so much consternation or objection from the PPP side of the fence, when the party, then in Opposition, won legal victory after legal victory during the last combustible elections season. If the AG’s sharp comments are what made it into mainstream media because of the office he holds, I can only begin to imagine what else is like what the AG put out, only pungently worse, from his comrades on various social media platforms, now the haven of assorted self-styled intellectuals, self-acclaimed critics, and self-congratulatory stickup men and women. The latter group may be more recognizable from the ordinary descriptive of the usual closet racists and political bigots. They are now given the keys to freedom and all the camouflage equipment they need to carry on their venomous attacks and savaging of others without limit.
What I am observing, hearing, absorbing is one bastion of independence and safeguard after another being put to the PPP sword in this One Guyana of myth and magic. It is either toe the party line, or get ready to pay the fine, in whatever form it takes. Criticism and condemnation have become the norm, and there is no exception. Just get in line. The Guyana Police Force is all lined up; the independent media is being whipped into shape; and now, it is the turn of the judiciary to get with the PPP Government program. It is that or get ready for a baptism of fire (“fair comment”) and whatever verbal pogrom can be concocted in the fevered minds of unready and unsteady set of people in charge of the important things in this country. I can’t wait to see what is going to unfold come the next elections go around. On second thoughts, I don’t want to know, could care less.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of this newspaper and its affiliates.)
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