OPINION: Complainant retreat: a society gravely wounded, standards buried

Last Updated on Saturday, 1 July 2023, 16:28 by Denis Chabrol

By GHK Lall

I was always of the belief deep down that this matter involving Minister Nigel Dharamlall was going to come to a halt before the completion of what has been a turbulent journey.  It is a little glimpse of how far I have grown into paying attention to this place, and understanding better how it works.  So, now we have a mystery wrapped in an enigma that is a puzzle.  Did he, or didn’t he?  Did anything-a felony, the untoward, even the borderline intrusive, alarming, and unacceptable-actually occur?  And where does this leave us as a society stricken in so many ways to the core?

First, I emphasize, reinforce, try to drum into the heads of defenders and assaulters of Nigel Dharamlall that, no matter his record, this is where matters stand: innocent by circumstances.  No complainant usually means no case.  Further, without pronouncing on the involvement or purity of Minister Dharamlall, I think that we have had too many of these revealing instances of allegations made, time passing, arrangements being made (aka damage control), and the mystery solved on the last page: no body, no accuser, no trail, no victim.  It does not mean, in my book, that an offense against the State and the people has not been committed.  It is why I have had serious issues with out-of- court arrangements for drunk driving deaths, wounding settled privately, and others of similar ilk.  Cash is not justice, nor soothing conversation.  The State should still have a vested interest, when the dignity and peace of the public is violated.  In the instance of alleged rape, there is the call for the smoking gun and correlations (medical, timely reporting to the police, timely police probe and written report, escalating to parents, guardian, or similar trusted figure); in the absence of those, matters distil to ‘he she, she seh.

Now that there is a blank wall, with the retreating action of the alleged victim, I feel comfortable speaking less diplomatically than before.  Minister Nigel Dharamlall should not have been a minister in any government, considering past performances, as claimed.  Also, he should not be anywhere near any lawmaking body in this country, viz., parliament, and sitting as someone who helps in the passing of laws for Guyanese.  Since I have scant regard for persons of such perceived peculiar standing, they should not be involved in making laws for me.  President Ali had and still has a duty to act with authority and all the dignity that his office commands.  Not as minister, no more an MP, no way, comrade.  Reward Minister Dharamlall with a high paying, cushy job for party purposes, and not to scare other alleged closet offenders into thinking that the ship is sinking, and the leadership is abandoning them.

Separately, the governing party now has a rather tattered image, which was held together for the longest while, but the encrustations of which have peeled off.  Citizens look on and either suspect or envision mostly stalkers, predators, oglers and corrupters of our young and vulnerable, and sickos of a very low order.  I am afraid that all the many solemn and sanctimonious pronouncements of women ministers and senior national leaders about the law, its application, justice, and doing the right thing thunder with what is hollow and hypocritical.  Beside an image problem of the worst sort, no clearheaded, conscientious Guyanese (other than fanatics and the twisted in mind, body, and soul) are willing to extend much trust in what women ministers present with a straight face, and leaders pontificate about with the right words.  In a thumbnail, very few believe anything that these brothers and sisters say anymore.  I don’t.

Taking in the broader picture, government after government have looked upon our indigenous communities, and our poor elsewhere, as spoils of electoral victory, the fruits of power.  Many in our governments want a taste, demand a taste, and seize a taste.  Should some hiccups occur and publication flourishes, then what follows is backdated paying for a taste of the flesh of our young.  With money around to burn for some, a million (or 5 or 10 [or more]) is beer money.  There has to be a mechanism in place, preferably free of any political taint, to monitor and oversee the welfare of our indigenous citizens, and police how they are treated.  Just as I lack any respect for shallow, convenient rhetoric from politicians, there is little confidence in commissions, some chairs, and the crowd that fills them.  In sum, I will say it loudly and sharply: the people we hold in Guyana as having integrity often do not know the meaning of that word, and what it commands of them.  Further, they are too close to governments, their lineage is too much about what primarily lines their own interests.

In closing, I face reality: Guyana is a country in shambles, a society heavily peopled by the shifty, bestial, and scurrilous.  It is why something like this whole sordid, sickening issue involving a government official could begin here, gain energy here, and die a seemingly unnatural death right here.  Guyana is living with a moral crisis, a leadership crisis, a governance crisis, and a societal crisis.  In American: Guyana decays, smells.