Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira, in a statement issued late last night (July 21, 2016) stated that Government’s plan to establish a special prosecutions unit to investigate and prosecute based on the reports of the forensic audits is another attempt by the government to witch-hunt political opponents.
“The Constitution by Article 187 confers the powers of prosecution in criminal proceedings on the constitutional Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. This new action is a departure from the existing functional and professional system of prosecutions. The proposal to create a Special Prosecutions Unit cannot be seen as anything else but further institutionalisation of another attempt to witch-hunt political opponents”, Teixeira noted.
Following is the full statement issued by the Opposition Chief Whip:
The announcement by Minister Trotman at today’s (July 21, 2016) Cabinet press briefing of the establishment of a Special Prosecutions Unit to investigate and prosecute based on the forensic audits is reflective of a pattern of actions by the APNU+AFC government which consistently under the rule of law.
The Constitution by Article 187 confers the powers of prosecution in criminal proceedings on the constitutional Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. This new action is a departure from the existing functional and professional system of prosecutions. The proposal to create a Special Prosecutions Unit cannot be seen as anything else but further institutionalisation of another attempt to witch-hunt political opponents.
Were the Government to go through the DPP and the Guyana Police Force, both professional bodies, governed by the Constitution and statute, they would be expected to abide by a level of professionalism and follow specific guidelines and act based on evidence.
The APNU+AFC Coalition clearly appears to have no faith in these bodies. This new Special Prosecutions Unit is intended to bypass these bodies and create a separate and parallel prosecutions arm supported by the SARU and SOCU under the total control of the political elite in the Ministry of the Presidency. The rationale for such a radical departure from the existing constitutional and legal provisions can only be interpreted as one designed to target and witch hunt the parliamentary opposition and political opponents.
What is also significant is that this is coming on the heels of an admission by none other than President David Granger that the audits themselves did not turn up “sufficient evidence” to bring criminal charges against former government officials. Yet according to Minister Trotman this is exactly what this proposed Special Prosecutions Unit will be investigating and leading prosecutions on these forensic audits.
This announcement follows ominously on the statement by Minister Jaipaul Sharma that Cabinet will be deciding on who will be charged with criminal offences based on these forensic audits. The same audits which were carried out by select political supporters of the APNU AFC government.
As stated in other warnings by the parliamentary opposition, this government has put Guyana on a slippery and dangerous slope undermining the rule of law and the eroding the separation of the powers between the executive, the legislature and the judiciary.
Despite the campaign trail promises, the government is hell bent on “Jacobin type justice” of the French revolution regardless of human rights and rule of law.