Being poor has never been an excuse to commit a crime

Dear Editor,

Dr Roger Luncehon and Education Minister, Ms Manickchand, have confirmed the widespread assumption that the ‘rule of law’ has broken down and, more precisely, does not exist in Guyana.

It is simply unbelievable, preposterous and disgraceful that this government could have taken the position that the copyright law should be wilfully violated, and pirated books  sourced for schools throughout the country.

Isn’t it ironic that stolen intellectual property will now be  used to educate our nation’s children? How can we expect our  young ones to develop good morals and respect for our laws  when the very tools used to teach them are the products of  unlawful activity?

Yes, it would cost more to purchase original textbooks from the copyright holders. And yes, our country’s resources are  limited. But being “poor” has never been an excuse to          commit a  crime.

Scarcity of resources has never been grounds to steal from  another.

Ms Manickchand, as a lawyer, should know this.

Is it now this government’s official policy that if individ-uals cannot afford food, they can steal from the neighbour who  has, because the need is so great? That would seem to be the  logical conclusion.

This is yet another  occasion where this government  has failed  to demonstrate  forward- thinking, creative  solutions to the  unique challenges we face as a  developing nation. Didn’t  anyone think about consulting  with a copyright / intellectual  property attorney?  Didn’t anyone mention the various  international sanctions that can result?

This is yet another instance of the government sticking its  head in the sand, too lazy to care about rules and regulat-ions, and lacking in competent leaders who can develop         creative solutions that abide by local and international laws.

I am disgusted and sickened by this policy, and hope with allmy heart that President Ramotar  would intervene and  ensure that textbooks are sourced in accordance with international regulations.

Otherwise, our future looks very dark.

Yours faithfully,
(Name and address provided)

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