THE EDITOR: Should a public official accused of wrongdoing be allowed to stay in office until he/she is found guilty? The not so simple answer is: that depends. Different countries have different rules for similar situations.
In April, the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, became Israel’s longest-serving PM. He won another term in office despite three corruption cases pending against him.
In the US, president Bill Clinton was impeached but eventually cleared of wrongdoing; during the impeachment process he remained in office.
The chairman of the Mayaro/Rio Claro Regional Corporation, Glen Ram, remains in office despite being charged with bribery, of which he asserts his innocence.
Therefore, the question is: should former government minister Marlene McDonald and former UNC senator Gerald Ramdeen, both with pending charges against them, have been fired or forced to resign? They have not been found guilty in a court of law. Aren’t they innocent until proven guilty?
Hypothetically, they could both be found not guilty of all charges; then what? Should the DPP and the police apologise? Will that suffice for besmirching the reputations and potentially ruining the lives of these high-ranking officials?
Citizens expect a high standard of conduct from their public servants. However, we live in a world where political opponents can and do make baseless allegations to gain a political advantage. The e-mailgate complaint against a prime minister and cabinet members is a perfect case in point when the police investigation ended with no charges brought.
Let us do what is right, not what is politically expedient. Give all citizens their day in a court of law; do not malign them in the court of public opinion.