The Jamaican Bar Association and the Organization of Commonwealth Caribbean Bar Associations, became the latest bodies to heap scorn and condemn the Guyana Police Force for arresting Attorney-at-Law Tamieka Clarke, for discharging per professional duties.
The Jamaica Bar Association said the arrest of the Attorney is an attack on the fundamental principle of the rule of law.
“We condemn this action and are very concerned about this assault on the legal profession. It is a clear departure from the Constitution of Guyana, which enshrines the right to silence in the course of criminal investigation, consistent with the advice of counsel in the matter. This gross encroachment by the state has result in undermining the rule of law and we shall remain carefully attentive in this cause,” the Jamaican Bar Association said.
The Bar Association said it stands with Ms. Clarke, while it awaits the official position of the Commissioner of Police.
For its part, the Organization of Commonwealth Caribbean Bar Associations said It notes the ‘disturbing’ reports of the Attorney’s arrest and it wants appropriate actions to be taken against those culpable.
“”OCCBA strongly condemns the malicious and arbitrary arrest of Ms. Clarke and calls for immediate and appropriate actions against those who take the law into their own hands to deny a citizen of his right to remain silent, to punish an attorney for discharging her professional obligations and to make a mockery of a widely recognized, well preserved and constitutionally protected right,” the body noted.
According to the OCCBA the unfortunate development holds valuable lessons not only for Guyana but the entire region.
The body said the development underscores the need to sensitize the society at all levels including the Police on the constitution and the rights and obligations falling thereunder.
The Commonwealth Lawyers Association in its statement expressed very serious concern over the arrest.
The group said the Police acted unlawfully and contrary to the rule of law. and that it supports the Statements of the Guyana Bar Association and OCCBA and calls upon the authorities in Guyana to uphold the rule of law and the constitutional rights of citizens and lawyers.
The Attorney who is a former Prosecutor, was arrested at the SOCU headquarters and detained for an hour after she advised her client to remain silent while being questioned by SOCU.
The Guyana Police Force’s only comment since then is that its Office of Professional Responsibility will launch an investigation into the unlawful arrest.
The Guyana Bar Association has been informing regional and international law bodies about the arrest and its attack on the rule of law in Guyana.