I have had to consider the timeliness of sharing this recommendation with the public at large. It does not, in any way, cross or conflict with the procedures now before our courts and of course it cannot, as some will claim, compete with them. The practical difficulty facing it will be the ongoing Coronavirus crisis, which imposes lock-down.
The courts are occupied with what they consider and have judged to be petitions falling within their jurisdictions. And the litigants are entitled to have their days in court. All litigants have this right and in our own interest it is a right to be defended.
My recommendation is for a tribunal, civic or official, for the documentation and for inquiry into the several cases of brutality of humans against humans that have been reported as occurring in places in several regions of the coastland after the March 2 poll. I do not name these places, as I know from experience that naming them will be seen as partisan. What I seek is investigation and documentation of actions which have been described as malicious and inhumane. The well-established process of inquiry, pleading defence and deliberation, should help to reveal the many aspects of these unfortunate happenings.
I pause here to note that in a month that celebrates the women of the world, a judicial officer in Guyana, in her obiter remarks, reminded all concerned that the officials of the Guyana Elections Commission were human and were entitled to respect. The tragedy is that of certain eminent observers present at the scene she had reflected on, did not exercise, publicly at least, their right to rebuke the behaviour of those who always had the right to approach the courts.
In the present atmosphere I now wish to justify my making of the recommendation for an inquiry. Here I know that I shall again be rebuked for recalling the past, but we cannot play ducks and drakes with history, or treat it as a three-card game. The inclusion of “partition” as a default solution is not the only thing that took place in history.
In January 1998, there were reported attacks all over the city by one set of humans against another set of humans, also in the wake of a general election and a court hearing. The government of the day did not mount an inquiry. However, a civic body of Indian Guyanese, known as GIFT, mounted an inquiry, took evidence and documented its findings. I was perhaps the only African Guyanese public figure to welcome that inquiry and to comment on its findings. I note here, in the Women’s month of March, that a few women of Red Thread made a small difference by taking small groups of the targeted humans to places of safety.
Many readers will not know that three of my books and several of my articles in publications, with which I was associated, have documented the type of violence of which I speak. I trust that those who will judge this recommendation and express an opinion on it will at least grant that it is an area of concern that has been with me throughout the years of my public activity. If readers find my language to be guarded, I answer that the atmosphere is already inflamed and can do without verbal fuel.