Last Updated on Friday, 24 September 2021, 5:09 by Denis Chabrol
By GHK Lall
Whenever I see actions of the state following certain well-traveled routes, I manage expectations. Precedent and commonsense tell me that the game is up, goose cooked, and regular menu served. The official covers are labeled procedures and process. I detect this at work with the Orin Boston murder over there in Dartmouth, where a family tragedy traces the well-trod road of official piety, national mockery.
State actors make fervent public promises following the unfolding of inconvenient tragedies, those that damn because they make no sense, possess nothing that can excuse. In lockstep with the official promises, a different kind of practice occurs behind the scenes, with specific objectives in mind. The first such practice is limiting fallout, what is known as damage control. Of recent, we have been graced with immediate visits from police brass uttering seemingly sincere commitments of no stone left unturned and that the very bottom will be drilled for the truth of the matter, and then only for this vast vacuum of silence to follow in the wake of one more senseless, inexplicable killing.
More than a week after the Dartmouth killing (called by some an ‘execution’), and after an intolerable and agonizing interlude for the family and community, the second careful step falls into place. It is way too late, and it is not so silent a footstep, as the official intention is to give the impression that things are moving, and of paramount importance. This is evidenced in sending the matter up the ladder. That is, to the Police Complaints Authority (PCA). In most locales, this would be a comforting development, one that should be a welcomed step, save that this is well worn excuse-fatigued, constantly disappointed Guyana, that has grown doubtful whenever government bodies are engaged. They are not so warming. From my perspective, one need not be a cynic to appreciate that the wheels are being greased with specific outcomes in mind with that escalation to the PCA.
Tragic accident is one. A slight case of overreaction in a split second is the second. The third is that it was dark, which handicapped decisionmakers on the ground in that fateful room; it was not the upper room of righteous intentions. A tragic bed, it was. And a likely fourth, which could be attempted, is that there was the fatal judgment call compelled by what was suspected and interpreted to be menacing movement on the decedent’s part. Why not, since he is gone? And his surviving spouse had to be so terrified as to have lost any sense of surroundings and balance, all circumstances considered.
It must be recalled that almost immediately the tried and tested came about, with the straightest of faces: The first falsehood was of manufactured confrontation; and if that was allowed to stand, then it was all but over from that moment. Since that was tried so reflexively, with a man dead in his bed, others of a similar, but more subtle, kind are not off-limits. And this is where and how the well-oiled machinery of Guyana goes into gear, and takes over. There is so much at stake here, in what is not a routine death. They never are, when agents of the state are involved.
This is of Orin Boston, and his grieving family, first. It is also of me and you, fellow citizens, for, once again, no one is safe from those who come like skulking curs in the deep dark of the dawn that never rose for one man and his family last week. Last week, it was Orin Boston in Dartmouth, he will not be the last. Or to say it differently, so that all Guyana understands: who is next in line?
As can be gathered by now, I have the scantest confidence in the escalation to, and deliberations of, the Police Complaints Authority; indeed, of its purity. For, I detect in its supposedly comforting presence, another entity which is part of the national culture, part of the sometimes-nuanced exercises towards foregone conclusions, which confirm that the fix is in, the outcomes already decided. All that is left is for the formidable PR gurus to put their sanctimonious stamps on the final product. It was a tragic accident. I think it was one that should not have happened. I would hope that we will not have a single one more, but know that I fool myself.
As for other examples in the national culture of alleged coverup, I tender the EPA, and the magistracy in parts. I am glad that the Office of the DPP has stepped things up a notch or two, but there is much more ground to go. We cannot have truth and justice, when serial deceivers are at the helm of this land. And when there is no justice, there is no hope for much of anything else. I think everyone know that of which I write and mean.