My attention was drawn to a news article headed ‘Jagdeo lambastes Stabroek News racist editorial’ (Guyana Chronicle, April 16) in which the former President was quoted as saying “when Hughes talks about East Indian people, he is not editorialized by the Stabroek News.”
The former president’s statements were a clear reference to the ongoing case which was commenced by the then President while he was protected from suit by virtue of his office when he chose to sue a lecturer for a piece of academic research on his tenure in office.
I have rarely come across a case where a litigant opts to commence legal proceedings against a defendant then fails to turn up to advance his case.
Perhaps it is his unfamiliarity with the conduct of civil proceedings which might have led to his error of judgment in attributing the genesis of the list of thirty-eight persons of East Indian descent to me.
Most people, I believe, are aware of the rather rudimentary principle of law which is that in the adversarial system which obtains in Guyana, a case is determined inter alia, by the testimonies of the witnesses who appear and testify before the court.
The role of counsel is merely to advance his client’s case. This invariably is done by cross examination of the opposing side’s witnesses.
Counsel is never permitted to testify from the Bar table.
All the statements which have attracted the public’s attention arising out of the conduct of the case, came from the testimonies of the plaintiff’s witnesses under cross examination, including the statement about the apparent lack of qualification of some sections of the populace to represent the country as heads of foreign missions.
The information about the thirty-eight persons of East Indian descent and the posts which they held, was contained in the first named defendant’s research paper, which I am sure the plaintiff and his counsel had access to prior to the commencement of the trial.
I find it interesting that the former President would accuse me of fanning the flames of anti-Indian sentiment when on no less than three occasions, twice before the hearing had commenced and once after the first day of Dr Luncheon’s testimony, I indicated to the plaintiff’s counsel now the Honourable Attorney General that he may wish to consider deferring the hearing of the case as the evidence which I had in my possession was explosive and may indeed heighten the racial tensions in the country. On each occasion the plaintiff declined the offer.
The facts irrespective of how you view them remain facts.
Perhaps it may be useful to remember that if you pick a fight you should at least turn up for the event.
C A Nigel Hughes