The attempt by the Assistant Commissioner (Law Enforcement) to discipline Dr David Hinds (reported in Ivelaw Whittaker’s letter in your edition of March 14) brings to the fore the questionable competence and professionalism of the Guyana Police Force. The absence of hard evidence regarding the perpetrators of the murder of Mr Crum-Ewing does not render Dr Hinds’ statement illogical (as claimed); far less does it render Dr Hinds’ fears unfounded. As long as the murder remains unsolved, people will speculate as to the motives underpinning it and the dangers of retaliation are real. While hard evidence is for the courts, the police (and public) must surely be concerned that perceptions can trigger non-judicial responses. I imagine this is what Dr Hinds is so wisely concerned about, which explains his principled and decent call for calm.
Worse, it is odd that Dr Hinds’ call for no retaliation is interpreted by the police as having the potential to incite violence and is met with a command to desist, whereas the same police remain mute and apparently powerless in the face of Mr Jagdeo’s trademark vulgarity at Babu John, including exhortations to ‘kick some asses.’ Bizzarely, then, a cry for peace is interpreted as potentially inciting violence, while a call for violence (metaphorical or not) is simply ignored. Such blatant double standards must surely raise doubts as to the professionalism and independence of the police force. Those double standards raise as well larger questions around governance, for as long as our key institutions – not confined to the police force – remain incapable of functioning independently, then the very ills Mr Crum-Ewing fought against will continue to flourish.