Administration of justice atrocious says PNCR
Stabroek News
September 20, 2002

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The administration of justice in Guyana is nothing less than atrocious, the PNCR charged at its weekly press conference yesterday.

Reading from a prepared text, Chief Whip Lance Carberry said even as his party and the nation are focusing on the trials and tribulations of the police force a critical look must be taken at the administration of justice in Guyana. “The regime’s dead hand of political manipulation, coupled with its endemic incompetence and corruption have invaded this area of governance to the detriment of the people.”

The party argued that there was no question that ineptitude, mismanagement and the absence of management are causing things to fall apart in the economy; in health care, in education, in law enforcement and all other areas of national life.

“Allegations of corruption are widespread; the disposal of cases in a timely manner is a pipe dream, disobedience of corrupt orders are now the rule rather than the exception,” Carberry said. According to him, the deeds and judicial registries continue to function in a capricious and inefficient manner. Carberry said that the average citizen had lost respect for the rule of law and has no confidence in those charged with the responsibility of safeguarding it. He noted that only last week the nation heard that the chief magistrate had reason to believe that her life was threatened. Judicial officers in Guyana, Carberry said, had previously been held on a pedestal as untouchables.

He pointed out that many reasons have been advanced for the breakdown and loss of respect for the law. He cited what he said are in his party’s view irrefutable contributions to this breakdown.

Among them he said was the ruling party’s refusal to honour legally binding contracts and orders of court in several noteworthy cases like Cedric Grant, Clarence Chue and others.

Additionally, the party stated, the ‘Black Clothes’ police have been allowed to kill, maim and terrorise citizens whilst the government and some elements in the judiciary remain silent as their reign of terror envelops the country. Financial impropriety continues to be rampant in management of the Deeds Registry, he said and the most recent Auditor General report speaks of impropriety at the courts where non-existent courtrooms are being rehabilitated and contracts split to avoid submission to the tender board process.

The party believes, Carberry said, that the current security situation is so serious and so threatening to the existence of the state that it requires a national, non-partisan, consensual response at the highest level. He said that the party was convinced that there can be no improvement in the situation without a thorough and effective inquiry into the operations of the police force, which would take evidence and views from all competent persons, including the force itself and make recommendations for its strengthening and modernisation. Moreover, the party insisted that the police must take the urgent and necessary steps to restore public confidence which is essential to its successful operation.

Further, Carberry said that the party supports the legitimate role of the police force in the difficult fight to control crime, but cautions that over-zealousness, callousness and corruption will not win them the battle.

The party also is maintaining its call for the disbanding of the Target Special Squad and for it to be replaced by a properly trained professional and competent unit and also those in the squad who are guilty of crimes must be disciplined or prosecuted. Among those at the head table yesterday at Congress Place Sophia were Central Executive members, Basil Williams, James McAllister, General Secretary, Oscar Clarke and Vice Chairman, Vincent Alexander.