I wish here to invoke a quotation attributed to Edmund Burke, the 18th Century British Statesman, writing on the French Revolution, which incidentally started out as a people’s revolution, but ran away like a wild stag to indelibly and ignominiously stain the history of France forever.
Burke said something like this: All that is necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing.
With this conviction, I beg you to permit me to register my nauseous disgust at the most recent and barbaric treatment of the youth, Colwyn Harding, while in custody of the Guyana Police Force. I wonder, what has become of presumption of innocence until proven guilty? Why must the police so frequently and high-handedly assume the powers of judge, jury and executioner?
Collaterally, I must also condemn the appalling treatment of his neighbor, Tiffany Edwards, who claims she suffered a miscarriage of her first child, also as a result of police brutality. (This claim may not necessarily be reckless, since it can be medically confirmed/rejected).
I have no doubt that no single party from either side – those making allegations against the police, and those refuting it, is telling the absolute, objective truth. But the fact remains that Harding was hospitalized and treated for a condition that was either directly or indirectly a result of police brutality.
Mr. Editor, from the too frequent reports of police irregularity, I am further convinced that contrary to administrative refutations, there are more rotten, corrupted and high-handed police officers, at all levels, than good decent cops. One should note that the behavior of the police is the single most important criterion used by Transparency International in gauging corruption and corruptibility in a country. I would like to meet one Guyanese who has never paid a bribe to a police!
But deep down the problem is not the police. Social psychologist will tell you that, for obvious reasons, the police only copy and mimic the corrupted and degenerate behavior of government ministers, followed closely by civil servants, and then the population. I would like one of our back-balling presidents to respond.
Like Robespierre and the French Revolution, they who brought a change to Guyana in 1992 have eventually consumed themselves.