I refer to the Sunday Stabroek headline titled, `Vanishing documents in Magistrates’ Courts raise serious concerns’ (SN February 11). I thank Mr. Ralph Ramkarran for highlighting this issue, and Stabroek News for persevering with drawing attention to what is a crippling near terminal sickness in this society. Other corruption watchdogs can be selective at times in what they prioritize and who they overlook. I now take that sickness and trace it to its diseased roots, the bitter bark that poisons.
Files and records, whether in the courts or elsewhere, do not disappear by themselves; at least not as seamlessly, consistently, and suspiciously. They do not vanish into the ether out of altruism or some sense of justice, however misplaced. They do not evaporate because of negligence or incompetence at crucial times. They disappear due to the chronic overwhelming malignancies that saturate life in this land. It is due to a single word: money. Make that two words: dirty money. That is why court files (and so many other critical things, including witnesses, memories, standards, positions, and truths to identify a few) disappear. They disappear on call; they disappear in a rush and repeatedly.
Before proceeding deeper, I must be clear: old money and honest money can and do derail the course of justice, and principled endeavors; though way less frequently and less glaringly, it should not be given a free pass. But what has been present for the longest while now, and has infiltrated and infested the nooks and recesses of this society, from blue chip establishments (defending and working at concealing) to the halls of justice (conniving and delivering) is ugly, dirty, smelly money. It is the kind of money that enables messengers and entry level officials (pick a place, any place) to live lavish lifestyles with all the velvet trappings of wealth way beyond income and means. Seniors are better positioned to make a killing; they do, too. It is a lovely state conjured by beautiful minds.
Now for a quick primer track the following. Money fronts businesses; businesses front earnings; earnings front people; people front activity and a certain way. It is a way that strives for legitimacy, credibility, and acceptability. That same currency and its unique source affords access: access to professions and professional services, access to institutions, access to government elevations, access to opposition confines, access to sacred precincts, access to results. The funds make people move; files and processes move, too. They all move along a premeditated, prearranged, well-traveled pathway. In sum: justice reversed; injustice served and secured.
Businesses do business; money changes hands; churches collect; and people prosper. This is the fantasy of illegitimacy, the spidery legacy of continuing criminality. Beneficiaries are overjoyed: the art of the possible comes alive, as fueled by questionable underlying bona fides. It is why there is great outcry when the government moves to stem the tide of dirty dollars and a dirtier economy. Taxes and policies are the flimsy smokescreens tendered. None are fooled; or should be. Some of the self-incriminating offerings sneaked before the altar of economic expediency include: what is the government doing? Why does it have to be so tight? Why does it refuse to be a little flexible? Why does it not leave some of the bad people and bad money alone? It should know that every time a shipment is seized, or business is compelled to walk the straight and narrow, there is a cost in jobs lost, spending reduced, and people unhappy. If this is the advocacy of the apologists and defenders (including government people), then it does not require much imagination to interpret what the financiers and operators scream secretly. They have to be cursing, too. They and their beneficiaries curse and complain and condemn because they cannot get their old evil ways; that modus vivendi that is still around and still at a material degree.
This is why files disappear. It is why people do bidding for a price. One more time: the proliferation of traceless riskless, bottomless sources of funds have moved mountains (of files). Money is power; it is the powerplant of access and action; and the crypto-capitalism of ongoing injustices. Fairness and remedies and solaces are beyond the reach of the little and low-level, losers all in the great game of positioning and overturning. The losers at the bottom have been too many over the years, and the instances too numerous when they have been grievously wounded by a craven valueless society. When the trail of the kind of money pinpointed is followed, some channels right back into the court system, and all that that means. The courts are not alone.