Nov 11, 2023 Editorial
Kaieteur News – Commissions of Inquiry (COIs) in Guyana: why even bother to have them anymore? Candidly, they are a waste of time and resources; they setup Guyanese with some level of expectation that truth and justice will follow; and last, they drop the hammer on still trusting citizens in this country. Broadly speaking, COIs have come to take on the appearance of hush jobs, exercises aimed at frustrating the full truth, and misleading Guyanese.
Given where the COI into deadly Mahdia Dormitory fire is, one has to wonder that if the President manages a wink and nod that is invisible, when these teams are first put together, then announced to a public yearning for anything that brings clarity. Some level of clarity and closure on issues that devastate different parts of this society, on some occasions, all of it. Some may take the position that the President’s tongue is already stuck in his cheek when he assembles these COIs, since what results is such a far cry from where any decent team of inquirers would close out the range of their interests.
The range of exercises is a mouthful, and the Government is one that has compiled a deep record for what is troubling. Fixes and shortchanging Guyanese have become the norm. This government has grown very good at getting the right people for the deceptive jobs that COIs have come to embody. Like audits, many objectives hinge on the Terms of Reference, aka the scope of the inquiry cum probe cum pursuit of facts and truths. Genuine COIs follow the trail, no matter where they lead and who they point a finger at, could bring down. They do not stop midstream, leaving many questions unanswered, leading to more uncertainty and disbelief. Also, a COI that is worth its salt, one that attracts a degree of credibility, lives or dies with the people that form part of its functions. In other words, a COI is only as good, as believable, as the people manning it.
If or when the people in a COI are too closely linked to those initiating it (government), or are believed to be working for more favours from COI sponsors, then that exercise in so-called interrogation of facts and circumstances is over before it starts. In any given COI, allowances should be made for the presence of a few independent-minded individuals on such a body. Reality, unfortunately, has repeatedly informed us that all it takes is one clever and dogged leader to guide the course of COI deliberations. The presence of one man or woman bent along a single-minded way of thinking, of what should (and should not) be often determines the outcomes in the COI in which they are participating. Like a jury box deliberating, one hard, unyielding, member could wield disproportionate influence and sway others to his or her way of seeing developments that occur.
In view of what has come out of the majority of local COIs two conditions register more insistently on the thinking and consciousness of citizens. The first is that COIs that have been pressed into duty to give Guyanese some peace of mind have, for the most part, degraded into the worrisome, to give them a kindly reception. Second, and even more disturbing, is the conclusion of many citizens that COIs now amount to nothing but farces. Today, they amount to nothing but exercises in cover-ups, and futility for those had some hopes no stone would be left unturned to get the full facts.
Leaders and government use COIs as references of their sincerity to unearth facts, and then to share those with the public. What the COIs do not reflect is how much digging there was, and how deep, which is one side of what and where COIs should be going. The other is the issue and concern regarding why a COI did see it fit to look the other way when the summoning and questioning of vitally necessary parties would have shed significant light. A big hole is left, a bigger question mark develops, about where a line of inquiry would have led, and how that changes the reputation of a COI’s efforts, powers conclusions about its work.
PNC demanding answers for smuggled chicken early Sunday morning after church!
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