Is justice delayed, justice denied?

Is justice delayed, justice denied?

Dear Editor,

IF the saying, “Justice delayed is justice denied,” still stands true, then, in Guyana, one wonders if justice is actually being denied. There are two election petitions currently engaging the attention of the court from the last general and regional elections, held on March 2, 2020. This matter will come up for trial shortly. One can ponder also on whatever happened to the election petition from 2015 that was never called to trial! There is a lost interest because, any engagement will only be for academic purpose, the timeframe is meaningless and the challenging party is back in power.

But the fact remains that it was never given a chance for the court to decide on a decision. The PPP/C was left in limbo and denied the opportunity of knowing an outcome. Could the result have made a difference if the matter was dealt with expeditiously and promptly? Too late shall forever be the cry and we cannot cry over spilt milk. For the 2020 election petitions, there has already been a case management recall, the AG made a submission and the issue is now awaiting trial. Does this “early” time factor reflect an improvement in judiciary expedition or…?

A look at what is happening in the USA is indeed “U.S. in distress.” What a comparison with good old Guyana! It has only been just over two weeks and there has been some two dozen court filings against the Biden victory by Trump and his supporters. Guess what? Those matters were already heard by the courts, dealt with and decisions made. The inundated legal challenges were riddled with incoherent inaccuracies and conspiracies and the petitions were either thrown out, withdrawn, rejected or the appellants lost their cases. The perpetual call by all the judges ran a ring around “show me the proof.”

Lack of evidence and immateriality were the leading and guiding factors to unhesitatingly lay the foundation so that the judges can come to quick, decisive and unchallenging decisions. Some of the decisions were already appealed and dealt with accordingly, with the original decisions being upheld. Is this food for thought and is there a lesson to be learnt? Is there a precedent setting a standard or is this leading by example? Better yet, how open is Guyana to assimilate the urgent need for improvisation and to follow international patterns? Is Guyana willing to follow such a trend? But, in Guyana, there is always a big “but” and submerged underlying factors do stifle any free breathing space. Are Guyanese in for another spectacular treat in court drama, or, a tragedy in comedy, or, has the matter lost its essence, or, Guyanese have lost any interest, or, as far as Guyanese are concerned, the matter is a foregone conclusion? Perhaps, time will tell.

Yours sincerely,
Jai Lall

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