The PPP, its pundits and apologists have to be the most avid adherents to the code of fluctuating principles. The most recent evidence of this can be found embodied in the comments of Dr Prem Misir on the investigation of the matter involving a lecturer from the University of Guyana. Doctor Misir chides, “The salient thing in the rule of law is that you are innocent until proven guilty, that’s the situation here. So let’s not get all too excited in the media. There is a situation that we are addressing and it is going through procedures but nobody is guilty until everything is sorted out.” Imagine this startling revelation in a nation where the executive leader has labelled people as criminals prior to the judicial system coming to that determination, has introduced polygraphs for low-level public servants who have been fired if they did not pass, and where there is a system of justice that is partial.
Dr Misir’s holier than thou adumbration on the importance of due process and the presumption of innocence reeks of lip service that is stifling. One is being forced into a conclusion that either he believes that all of Guyana is labouring under the same affliction that seems to affect the memory and attention span of some PPP officials, pundits and apologists, or his comments are being made under the influence of hubris. Forgive me if I appear a little confused, but didn’t the political directorate to which Prem Misir gives his allegiance, assume the condition of the deaf, dumb and blind while the salient rule of law was being lethally abused by Roger Khan and his murderous killing squad? Is the salient rule of law only functional when the conduct or actions of some members of the population are suspect?
Of course I believe that the lecturer is entitled to due process and the presumption of innocence. Of course I hold to the tenet that he should be afforded the opportunity of mounting a defence against the charges being levelled against him, and should not be summarily dismissed. Where the inconsistency comes, however, is in the comparison between the treatment of people like this professor and the officer who was taped allegedly attempting to do a deal with someone he suspected of being a drug trafficker, and others like the former Manager of Transport and Harbours Ivor English, former Chief Magistrate Juliet Holder-Allen, and ex-police officers Patrice Henry and Simon McBean. One can predict with 100% accuracy where the government and its political appendages of power will come down on an issue based on PPP affiliation or non-affiliation. I just wish it was just as easy to predict the winning lottery ticket, or more rationally, the weather.