Civil society has remained silent on this matter

Stabroek News

May 28, 2004

Related Links: Letters on abducted 13 year old
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Dear Editor,

Nearly two and a half years ago, Brother Roshan Khan took issue with myself, and, as he put it "The bleeding heart liberals" including the Guyana Human Rights Association (SN 28.02.2002), for opposing the shackling of prisoners, whom he chose to recklessly describe as "criminals".

Without expressing any sympathy for them or condoning their illegal activities, I maintained that the prisoners whom brother Khan said would, inter alia, brutalise and rape, etc., the wives and daughters of their victims, ought not to be shackled. They are obviously not the worst type of deviants with whom we have to deal.

Perhaps I was wrong, but I contended also that every so often, civil society fails to focus on and speak out against the so called 'White-Collar Crimes' with the same intensity that they do about the 'Blue-Collar' Crimes. In several respects White Collar crimes can be far more harmful and detrimental to society.

In this well known, but less publicised category of social delinquents, we have the 'con man' and the 'con-woman' too, the Forger, the Conspirator, those who indulge in bribery and corruption, tax evasion and even unfair labour practices.

There is also another group of 'Defaulters' in which can be found the Family Abuser, the Spouse-including husbands-Beater, the Rapist and the Child Molester. We tend not to focus on these with similar passion and commitment as we do on other types of crimes.

I make this proposition against the background of the unfolding events surrounding a well known businessman and a child 13 years old. Thus far it was reported by the media that the businessman has abducted the child, he had had carnal knowledge (sex) of her, and he has blatantly violated an Order of the High Court, which prohibited him from having contact with her.

Indeed, an opinion has been expressed that this businessman who has had brushes with the law before, could on this occasion-have been charged with offences under Sections 90 and 91 (not 89) of the Criminal Law Offences Act Cap: 8:01.

Why that has not been done remains a vexed mystery to many, who genuinely believe in the fearless and equitable dispensation of justice.

Could it be that there is insufficient evidence to successfully institute and prosecute a charge under the Act? Or is it that advice is being awaited from the DPP, as is often the case?

Undeniably, I am upset, in fact I will be presumptuous enough and suggest that all of civil society should be upset at the fact that this businessman may once again break the law and be treated with 'kid gloves'.

I am extremely disappointed that civil society has thus far remained silent on this matter.

Not that we should pardon the Roshan Khans for remaining silent on this and other white collar crimes, but even if we do, we should not extend a similar reprieve to the feminist organisations, and others who purport to promote social justice for remaining silent on this matter.

To all the parents in those organisations I ask "What would you have done if the child in focus was yours?"

It is a matter which demands the combined efforts of the Ministries of Home Affairs, Labour and Education. For much too long, we have allowed these matters to gradually slip into oblivion.

Personally, I would welcome a comment on this matter from brother Roshan Khan, but I must remind him that while the hardcore criminals usually rob their victims of their material possessions which can be replaced, this businessman has begun to rob the child of her childhood which cannot be replaced with all the wealth in the world.

Yours faithfully,

Francis Carryl