We are returning to dark times and nation has reason to fear

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Dear Editor

This nation is once again reverting to dark times when the Guyana Police Force is no longer being held to the standard of its motto “Service and Protection” consistent with laws and time-honoured principles, but to a standard dictated by political operatives. This could not be starker than in the case this week where the Force’s Chaplain, Reverend Patrick Doolichand, was dismissed on the pretext that his prayer at the opening of the Annual Officers’ Conference was “repugnant, fallacious and [of] inappropriate utterances,” which was viewed as offensive to President Irfaan Ali and portrayed the Force “negatively.” Another reason for the termination is Doolichand was “being investigated for alleged financial crimes.” He was later reinstated based on the involvement of Ali “that he appreciated the eloquent and forthright prayer….”

This is a serious indictment on the Force under the stewardship of Nigel Hoppie as Commissioner (ag) and Ali as Commander-in-Chief and President. What this incident has confirmed to this nation that the Hoppie-led Force is more prepared to operate at the pleasure of the political directorate, not laws and time-honoured principles. This is a dangerous place for the society to be.
The above also lays bare the post August 2, 2020 actions by the Force where public employees and opposition political operatives are being held for 72-hours without being charged. The cases of Colvin London of NICIL and James Bond, an opposition political operative, readily come to mind. Trevor Benn, former head of the Guyana Lands and Survey Commission, who was placed in lock-up on Wednesday will apparently suffer the same fate.

The Coalition Government (APNU+AFC) of the last five years was not without shortcomings but this nation did not see this abuse of law and the Force as we are witnessing today. It was not a behaviour that occurred during the Donald Ramotar government which too had its shortcomings. The police present behaviour is taking us back to the Bharrat Jagdeo time in office. The rate at which the Ali eight-month regime is going Guyanese have all reasons to fear dark times are here once again.
Attention too is being brought to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions under the leadership of Shalimar Ali-Hack. This office has advised that the alleged assault incident pertaining to Member of Parliament Kwame McCoy of Member of Parliament Tabitha Sarabo-Halley, which was placed before her office, be referred to the Speaker for investigation. Said incident is alleged to have happened outside of the chamber which the Speaker of the National Assembly has no responsibility. The Speaker presides over the conduct and behaviour of the Members when sitting. Any alleged act of assault committed within the chamber he/she can deal with, not allegation of incidents made outside of the chamber.

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The Speaker has no control over what happens outside of the chamber and it is ridiculous of the DPP to refer to him a matter he has no jurisdiction over. This has the appearance of a ploy to not investigate and bring closure to an alleged act considered egregious and violation of women. This issue must be resolved given its nature and further division in society it is fostering. The society should be troubled how the DPP’s activities are conducted under Ali-Hack’s watch. It was under her watch recommendations were made for the instituting of charges against Anil Nandlall, Winston Brassington, Ashni Singh and Ali when they were in the opposition and when they returned to office it was the DPP’s chamber that made the recommendations to withdraw those charges.

We are returning to terrible times and this nation has reason to fear that bodies will start falling in the streets again, law enforcement will be rendered impotent, and no one will be held accountable. The Force and DPP are at dangerous crossroads. Hoppie and Ali-Hack are proving to society we have all right to be concerned they are not executing their tasks consistent with laws and time-honoured principles. They are being urged to rethink this dangerous trajectory they are placing society and reverse course lest they shoulder responsibility for playing a major role in torpedoing customs, norms and practices held sacred in democratic societies and responsible for fostering peace and harmony among the peoples.

Regards
Lincoln Lewis



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