The Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) was established during the PPP/C administration. This Unit is part of the infrastructure of government aimed at bringing about and ensuring good governance by seeing to it that the people’s business is managed consistent with the law, which holds the elected and appointed accountable in execution of their duties.
Where all under the Guyana Constitution- from the President right down to the man and woman in the street- are subject to the Rule of Law, SOCU could not have been established to hold animals accountable or only the ordinary citizens.
That the matter before the court involving former head of NICIL Winston Brassington and former Minister of Finance Dr. Ashni Singh is now playing out before our eyes as a political game must be of concern to all who desire the supremacy of the law.
Unless the PPP/C intended to have SOCU hold lower level officers of the State and Government to account or established the Unit based only on the country’s association with the international bodies’ fight against crime at governmental level, this was an opportunity for its leadership to support the work of the Unit and the men having their day in court. It has missed a glorious opportunity to demonstrate respect for the work of the Unit and signal to all and sundry an interest in ensuring probity in governance.
All of a sudden the matter pertaining to what these men have been accused of and the opportunity presented to have their side of the story told before an adjudicator of the law, deliberate on and judgment pronounced, is being reduced to shouts of “political victimisation.”
There must be seriousness on the part of our politicians as to their sense of purpose, duty and responsibility in society. Equally there must be respect for institutions of government and state. The notion that laws are made only for the ordinary man and not for the politicians and connected must be eschewed.
The Judiciary is a branch of government. On matters of conflict or allegation if we want to be seen as a civilised and law-abiding society one of the places to have this resolved is in the Court. Where signals are being sent that the court is for some it will cement views of an un-equal society and promote justification that vigilante justice is a better course of action to resolving matters where differences exist.
SOCU and the Court must be allowed to do their work, free from this political madness and promotion that some are above the law, or the law is only applicable to some and not all. From the inception the PPP/C, as the Opposition, sought to make this issue one of partisanship by saying the party will advise the accused not to attend court. On the first day the matter was called the accused were absent. They turned up to court subsequently with society seeing them being accompanied by the political leadership claiming political victimisation.
This is a serious matter before the court which carries implications for governance. The assets of the state belong to the people and must at all times be prudently managed on the people’s behalf. It is long past time for political growth and maturity in this society. Brassington and Singh must reject being used as pawns in an effort to bring disrepute to an institution of state. These men know the society they now reside in will not countenance behaviour perceived to bring disrepute to established laws, rules and procedures.
The men must have their day in court, the right to be heard, and the right to a fair trial. This is the course of action a law-abiding society must be interested in and such must be determined at all times.
All public officials- elected and appointed- past and present are accountable under SOCU irrespective of position, political association, race, creed, in the Opposition or Government. We the people must not waver in supporting or calling on state institutions to ensure this. The Rule of Law is supreme and sacrosanct and it must prevail.