I write to express grave concerns about the rights of citizens of our country. This morning (May 9, 2017) I attended the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court, accompanying my colleague Mohabir Anil Nandlall who is presently before the court.
At the hearing, the special prosecutor, hired by the government, said to the court that no statements were available since the investigation was incomplete and statements are yet to be taken in the matter. He assured the court that this exercise will be completed sometime on May 26 and requested May 29 for continuation of the matter. This is what I heard in court myself.
A number of questions immediately came to mind and I would hope by way of this letter more informed Guyanese can enlighten me and other members of the public.
- If there are no statements and the file is incomplete, on what basis was Mr. Nandlall charged?
- If it is true that charges are to be based on evidence contained in statements on which the prosecution would rely by calling witnesses to testify at the appropriate time, am I wrong to conclude that the charge against Mr. Nandlall therefore has no basis in evidence?
- Why wasn’t the case dismissed immediately after this information became available to the Court, Is this the way our citizens are treated every day in our courts and is this normal?
- If this charge is not evidence-based, would it be wrong to conclude that it was instituted capriciously or was driven by some other consideration?
- What role if any, the professional and independent offices of the DPP and the police legal advisor played in recommending the charge against Mr. Nandlall in the absence of statements in this matter.
- Would I be wrong to conclude like so many other Guyanese that in the face of the above unanswered questions that the charge against Mr. Nandlall has to do more with politics and political witch-hunting executed by the APNU/AFC government?
Editor, after leaving court I was able to access the kaieteur news daily with the screaming headline, “over 200 persons blacklisted from leaving Guyana – SOCU’’ . ….As a citizen of Guyana I have acted to ensure that the fundamental and constitutional rights of Guyanese are upheld and not violated.
I have since written to the public authority, namely the Chief Immigration Officer (the Commissioner of Police) under the Access to Information Act of 2011 requesting the identity of these resident Guyanese who have been blacklisted.
This trampling on the rights of citizens must be rejected in all forms. In the face of such travesty of justice, silence is not an option. Article 144 of the Constitution of Guyana guarantees that a man is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty.
I call upon all law enforcement and judicial authorities to uphold the constitution and to resist political pressure and instructions in any form or fashion. Citizens should speak up and don’t wait for you to become the next victim. Let’s stop this madness now.
The APNU/AFC Granger led Administration through various ministers have made public statements about who would be charged and when, am I wrong to conclude that this was sending signals to the law enforcement and judicial arms of the State in very subtle forms.
One of the first signs of authoritarianism is when the coercive arms of the State are used to silence, intimidate and ultimately eliminate political opponents. We know what happened in the past, we must never allow this to happen again. Stop the abuse now.