‘Outrage over DPP’s decision’

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—citizens rail over quashing of ‘racial incitement charge against lawyer’
…PNCR, WPA say action of DPP an abuse of power
Citizens and organizations have expressed outrage over the freeing of Attorney, Nirvan Singh on a charge of allegedly inciting racial hostility against, former police constable, Shawnette Bollers.Singh had been accused of inciting racial hostility by calling Bollers, a former police constable, a “black money” and allegedly telling her that “black people have no purpose in life.”

He was initially charged and placed on $100,000 bail, however, on Wednesday, Principal Magistrate Sherdel Isaacs informed the Court that the charge against Singh has been discontinued by the DPP in keeping with Article 187 (1).
Singh is the son of former Chancellor of the Judiciary, Carl Singh.

Former Prime Minister of Guyana, Hamilton Green in commenting on the matter said it was with disbelief he read that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has written withdrawing the case against Attorney Nirvan Singh, an Indo-Guyanese accused for calling an Afro-Guyanese Policewoman a black monkey and other unacceptable banalities.

“Am I to assume the complicity of high government officials by their silence with this matter of great public concern, for they say silence in some circumstances gives or implies consent. Dear Editor, is someone deliberately attempting to provoke Afro-Guyanese to take things into their own hands? ” Green said.

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He added: “We saw a relative of the two Henry’s cousins who were tortured seeking his own justice, not satisfied  with the Police and DPP action in this matter. When I learnt of this I was furious, having earlier in the day having a long discussion with an Indo-Guyanese businessman about what we must do to ensure that the two major groups, Afro and Indo Guyanese work harmoniously with love to bring lasting peace to our fractured country and society.

I call on both President Ali and the Leader of the Opposition to make public statements on this worrisome matter. This is not a matter for long drawn out court proceedings. Do some people really want peace or they want conflict? I also call upon the many decent and fair-minded Indo-Guyanese and the Portuguese Advisors in the Government to break their silence. For me, I want peace but is it possible when a particular group can be tortured, insulted and appear to have the protection of the powers that be.”

On behalf of Red Thread, Susan Collymore
Norma Adrian, Joy Marcus, Halima Khan, Wintress White and  Vanessa Ross zaid they are “appalled at the way Ms. Shawnette Bollers is being treated by the judicial system.” The women said Ms. Bollers took a courageous stand, in the face of the police dragging their feet to investigate, when she decided to bring private criminal charges against attorney-at-law Nirvan Singh who she alleged assaulted, chased, spat upon and subjected her to vile racial slurs while she was on official duty at the residence of his father, retired Chancellor of the Judiciary, Carl Singh.

“Now the DPP has decided to discontinue the charges against Mr. Nirvan Singh without so much as an explanation of the reason/s for the dismissal, and without even informing Ms. Bollers and her lawyer of this decision.

Ms. Shalimar-Hack, don’t you think Ms. Bollers is deserving of a hearing or more so an explanation as to why she is denied a hearing? Why did you not even inform Ms. Bollers and her lawyer of your decision? Why is she not being allowed her day in court, given the very serious allegations she brought against Mr. Singh?”

“Ms. Bollers deserves the right to justice and Ms. Shalimar-Hack, as Director of Public Prosecutions, you owe it to her. You are mandated to administer justice in criminal matters.  Is the manner in which you handled this matter called justice?  Is Mr. Singh’s alleged abuse of Ms. Bollers not seen as serious enough? If it was the other way around, we know that Ms. Bollers would have been charged.  Are we to take it that Mr. Singh, a learned lawyer, is above the law or that people with money and positions and contacts have immunity when it comes to the law?  What do poor people need to do to get justice in this country? This decision MUST be challenged. We commend and support Ms Bollers for standing up. In standing up for herself, she sets an example to her children, her family, and all of us,” the women stated.

Another citizen Ron D’Avilar said it was truly outrageous to read the news that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Ms Shalimar Ali-Hack has withdrawn a private criminal charge filed against Attorney-at-Law Nirvan Singh by Former Police Constable, Shawnette Bollers.

“It was even more sickening to hear that the DPP provided no explanation for her decision to deny a citizen the right to seek justice, after said citizen was subjected to alleged verbal assault with racial slurs, which could be argued as being in violation of the Racial Hostility Act, Cap. 23:01. Bollers’ Attorney Eusi Anderson is quoted in the media as saying, “The DPP’s letter is absolutely silent on the reasons for the exercise of her power to discontinue. The DPP’s letter is also silent on the status of the police file which is allegedly before her for advice.”

D’ Avilar asked whether the public servant DPP is a power onto herself to deny citizens the right to seek justice with no explanation? “It is a travesty that we are at this point which shows that the criminal justice system in Guyana is rotten to the core.  Why are we condoning these type of behaviors in public office and allowing it to fester like a plague in our “One Guyana”? Where is the outrage? The DPP must be condemned on all grounds.”

The man said Guyana is on the cusp of tremendous transformation and for our country to truly advance “we must build a society where the rule of law applies to all, everyone must be allowed to seek justice and the court must be allowed to do its work without interference.  We cannot progress with people in office who will continue to be a problem with allowing to the administration of justice.  I applaud MsBollers for her decision to challenge the DPP ‘all the way to the CCJ.’ If we build a society with anarbitrary justice system, no one in Guyana will ever be safe.”

For it’s part the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), on Thursday, said the move by the DPP to discontinue the “racial hostility case” against Attorney-at-Law Nirvan Singh ought to be widely condemn as it represents a dereliction of duty.

“The decision of the DPP must be widely condemned on two grounds. Firstly, she provided no explanation of her decision on this nationally-significant case. Accordingly, she has denied citizens the opportunity to be edified on how she interprets violations under the Racial Hostility Act, Cap. 23:01. This is a major disservice to the Guyanese people whom the DPP is expected to serve. The DPP seems to be condoning racism rather than operating based on the law.

Secondly, the Director did not extend the courtesy of formally communicating her decision to the aggrieved party, Ms. Bollers, and her lawyer. Such an omission can only be described as flagrantly disrespectful. The DPP is clearly not operating in the interest of this Guyanese citizen to whom a wrong was allegedly done,” the PNCR said in a statement.

According to the PNCR, the actions of the DPP is not only unprofessional and unprincipled. It is of the opinion that the decision was influenced by politics, race, and social status.  “Clearly, she is not impartial and is disqualifying herself,” the party opined.

It added: “It is also apposite to recall that the DPP had to be rebuked by at least one judge from the CCJ for her lack of professionalism and what appears to be her using her suspicions as if proven in a court of law. The DPP is again manifesting her bias.”

PNCR said it fully supports the decision of Bollers, as reported by her lawyer, to take the case all the way to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

“Her determination to fight for justice should serve as inspiration for us all. Ms. Bollers is assured of the support not only of the PNCR but also all those who want to rid Guyana of the scourge of Racism,” it said.

The party said it has also taken note of the silence of the ruling PPP/C on this matter, as such, sees them “as complicit in the cover up of this crime.”

Meanwhile, in a separate statement, WPA said the action of the DPP is an abuse of power that sends an ominous signal to the society at large.

“It is tantamount to the use of institutional power to condone racism. On a matter that is so socio-politically sensitive and so central to the stability of our country, the DPP has come down of the side of the accused rather than the accuser,” WPA opined.

It posited that the role of the DPP is not to act as judge and jury as the decision suggests. “The role of the DPP is not to stand in the way of justice, but to facilitate justice. At the very least, she should have allowed the accused to have his day in court to defend himself against the accusations,” it opined.

It reasoned that even if the charges appeared unsubstantiated, the court should have been given the opportunity to decide.

“It is too sensitive a matter to be determined by a single individual,” the party said, while noting that the discontinuation of the charge denies Bollers an opportunity for justice and equal protection before the law.

WPA said this new development in Guyana smacks of racism or the protection of racism in high places.

“When one adds the refusal of the police to act to this summary decision by the DPP, Ms. Bollers civil rights have been violated by the very State that is charged with protecting those rights,” it said.

Like the PNCR, the WPA said it supports Bollers’ decision to seek judicial review.

The party said the time has come to legislatively reduce the “totalitarian powers” of the DPP. “It is an anti-democratic institution that has no place in a modern democracy. It must be reminded that only recently, the CCJ had cause to cite the gross over-reach of this officer in the Bisram case,” it said.

WPA said even as the court reviews this decision, justice for Bollers cannot await the sloth of the judicial process. “This decision is yet another alert that Guyana, under the current regime, is moving swiftly down the road of totalitarianism. Guyanese must stop this descent sooner rather than later,” the party opined.



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