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From the dawn of civilization, we had instances of civil discontent caused generally by injustice and the heavy-handed use of State resources, also, the improper deployment of those Institutions (Police, military), which were designed to protect citizens and not pummel them into submission.
Throughout human history, power in the hands of those committed to bullying has been the curse of mankind.
Thursday, I attempted to visit the Magistrate’s Court on Avenue of the Republic and Brickdam. I encountered barriers manned by approximately seven policemen. This experience was similar as I approached the southern and eastern entrances of the Court.
At that time, His Worship the Mayor of Georgetown, Ubraj Narine and Sherod Duncan were in Court to answer charges laid by the Police.
I wonder how it is that the Guyana Police Force that claims to be short staffed could deploy in excess of twenty ranks and five senior officers and an unknown number of plain-clothes police.
There was no riotous condition to warrant this massive show, of course, while daily decent citizens complain that when they visit Police Stations in and around Georgetown, they are told of a shortage of Police Officers.
I get the impression that we have an oligarchy pushing us to the disaster of a dictatorship. As has happened before, this group in charge is possessed of the same attitudes and beliefs of an old imperial master, who used the arms of the State to pummel and punish those who dare to express contrary views and to seek justice, freedom of expression and association.
This attitude runs counter to the essence of democracy, the characteristics of decency and the right of citizens in an open democratic society to express different views from those of the ruling elite.
Citizens and their Organisations must put a halt to this drift to authoritarianism, intolerance and dictatorship, for this is where we are heading.
The media and citizens should not ignore the warning signs. One, the Mayor of the Capital City is charged with of all things, a traffic offense. If the Police are serious, every day in Georgetown and elsewhere, thousands and thousands of persons should be charged for traffic offences.
Since this matter is before the Court, it will be improper for me to comment, save to note that I understand the Mayor simply posed a hypothetical question.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with the vulgar behavior of the PPP MP on the Dildo episode. There was nothing wrong with a similar banal outburst by Charandass Persaud in New Delhi, India, and we are yet to be told who he represented at a Hindu Conference in India after his recall and whether he is holding a position in the Government even though he was a contract officer.
But what is worrisome is this:-The GDF issued a strongly worded Statement discharging Mayor Narine as a Reservist. When the reserve Force was established under the Theme “Every Citizen a soldier,” it was to deal with mobilizing our citizens to counter the sweat of Venezuela to the West, Surinam to the East and the Atlantic to the North.
There is nothing I know that the Mayor has said or done to warrant this egregious and strong statement of condemnation dismissing him as a member of the Army Reserve.
Those of us who are aware of the purpose and intent behind the establishment of the Reserve regard this Statement by the GDF as Pure, Political Posturing and I believe as I now do ask the Commander-in-Chief, President Ali for some justification.
Apart from the apparent denigration of natural justice the absurdity of the Army High Command rushing into judgment is absurd.
As I understand it, unless a Reservists is proved, and let me emphasize the word proved, to be disloyal and likely to betray the State by acts which amount to treason, there is no good reason for this hasty and summary withdrawal of Ubraj Narine who is also based on our tradition regarded as the First Citizen.
My information is that Ubraj Narine was not asked orally or in writing to explain his purported misconduct and misdemeanor.
But Editor, what is worrisome, the President has a plethora of ostensible, credible Advisors. One being his Advisor on Security, investigated journalism should require that that Advisor be asked if he proffered that advice. Speaking to some of the PPP Government leaders, they have sought to shelter the President by saying that he was unaware of this or that mis-step by the Government. That he does not, they say, seek to micro-manage Ministries, Ministers and Officials.
I needn’t list those matters, but in this case, I cannot imagine that a strongly worded Statement from the Army could have been issued without the fiat knowledge that the Commander-in-Chief can claim of this egregious dismissal or discharge of a citizen from a Reserve.
The Army High command issues a Statement discharging the Mayor from the Reserve Unit. Again, I can provide them every hour, everyday persons who ought to be similarly discharged.
Then we have out of control, SOCU, part of the Police Force, the killing of Orin Boston at Dartmouth and that matter will soon be gathering dust from the files. A simple female Constabulary rank Shawnette Bollers, is allegedly verbally assaulted by being called a black monkey, but highly connected Attorney Nirvan Singh is not charged by the Police. Police took no action but exercising our Constitutional right to justice brings private charges against Attorney Singh.
The DPP, Ms. Shalimar Ali-Hack, using I feel quite capriciously the powers invested in her has the matter discontinued. Same story.
Meanwhile, charges against Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, that alleged the theft of law books were also discontinued by the DPP.
Ms. Tremaine Clarke, an Attorney-at-Law is arrested violating her civil liberties, same pattern. Police did nothing, so she sought legal recourse against the three SOCU Officers, Superintendent Rammana, Sergeant Persaud and Sergeant Singh and the DPP Ali again had that matter discontinued.
Then, we have the shenanigans of the murder of Michael Fagundes aka Paper Shorts.
All the above has and is taking place under the watch of His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali.
I take comfort in the words of an abolitionist, Wendell Phillips from Massachusetts, “ Justice and humanity have been fighting their way, like a thunderstorm, against the organized selfishness of human nature.”
As the people of Mozambique in Africa continued their efforts for human dignity, justice and equality, Dr Eduardo Chivambo MondIane made these two words “A luta continua,’ the rallying cry as they fought against Portuguese oppression and later Samora Machel followed suit as he became the first President of independent Mozambique.
I say A luta continua – the struggle continues.