DPP and the Police

Guyana Chronicle
May 13, 2001

THE DIRECTOR of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Dennis Hanomansingh, may have posed a challenge to the Police Force by his statement last week in which he pointed to examples of failure in securing police assistance in enforcement of the law.

The DPP's press statement followed mounting criticisms in the media of his failure to initiate actions against the advocates of violence and in particular the hate-driven and seditious statements associated with certain hosts of television "talk shows", foremost being on NBTV Channel 9.

Some of the specific examples he has provided in his press statement naturally raise questions about lack of efficiency and commitment by the police in pursuit of advice he gave on actions to be taken against those posing threats to law and order.

Why he has chosen to remain silent for so long is not clear and the hope is that there is no passing of the buck by either the DPP or the police in the required action to deal with those who have been arrogantly and systematically violating the laws of this country.

A response to the police seems quite appropriate, unless they are to confirm by silence, the case made out by the DPP why he has been able to obtain police action on advice given.

The Reality?
In his statement, Mr. Hanomansingh admitted that under the Guyana Constitution, the DPP is empowered to institute and undertake criminal proceedings against any person and before any court for offences committed.

Perhaps with his critics in mind, who feel that he could have initiated criminal proceedings on his own, particularly in view of the required cooperation from the police, the DPP said:

"This (empowerment of the institution of DPP) is, at first glance, a very sweeping power; but in reality, the desire to institute and undertake criminal proceedings is circumscribed by the necessity to secure the active assistance and involvement of the law enforcement agencies of the State.

"In the absence of such assistance and involvement", he said, "prosecutions will be in vain and will inevitably result in the important office of the Director of Public Prosecutions being demeaned".

The question that the Police Commissioner must now address, and urgently, in accordance with public accountability by institutions of the State, is why there has been the lack of "active assistance and involvement" as pointed out by the DPP.

There are too many victims, too much destruction and untold hurt and suffering in this country for the public to be left to guess why the DPP and the police have failed to achieve the required level of cooperation to bring to justice those whose hateful, vicious statements have undoubtedly contributed to the violence and disruption of normal life of this nation.