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The call to step aside

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09.MAY.08

Editor: I have been following with interest the recent allegation of rape against the sitting Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, and the call by the Opposition Leader and the Opposition for him to “step aside” or demit office until the matter is determined in Court, and his name “cleared”.{{more}}

The woman, who claims to have been raped, may well have been raped. However, her probable pain, suffering and humiliation appear to have been lost on members of the Opposition whose fixation seems to be with removing the Prime Minister from office. It is as though the woman’s anguish will all go away once the Prime Minister is removed from office.

What is absolutely astounding, though, is that learned men, with ambitions of becoming top-ranking public figures, leaders of this country, even, can call for a public official-or Prime Minister in this case-to resign simply on the basis of an allegation of wrong-doing.

Have they, in their quest to destroy the Prime Minister, suddenly taken leave of their better (?) judgment with this senseless call? What kind of society do they wish to create? Once in office, will they be as willing-as they want the Prime Minister to be-to step aside, resign even, simply on the basis of a claim that seems fraught with inconsistencies? Will they readily bow out of office if “Mary Jane”, who, in their opinion, appears to be part of a conspiracy, comes forward with unsubstantiated accusations against them?

What precedent will this set for future politicians and holders of public, private, religious or any other office? Is the Opposition Leader calling for resignations based purely on accusations brought by an accuser?

Or is this limited strictly to this Prime Minister Gonsalves’ situation?

If rape were committed, and if clear, water-tight evidence exists, then with or without the DPP, it would be only a matter of time before the accuser and her lawyers have their day in court. Then and only then will a guilty verdict not only demand the removal of the PM, but will see his entire Party’s downward slide into nothingness.

While we can understand the Opposition’s joy and excitement at the public humiliation and removal from office of the learned and confident Dr. Gonsalves, I would strongly advise caution on this call (for him) to step aside. With such a call, they may very well be setting themselves up for their own truncated stay in Parliament.

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