I pray to allow me to share with citizens some experiences over the weekend.
They speak to real but worrying conditions existing in our beloved Guyana.
At a function on Sunday evening in the village of Crane, West Coast Demerara, I met a seventy-six year old Guyanese born retiree living in Delaware, USA. Painfully he related some experiences, He was unhappy at the sharp decline in standards since his last visit. He was in a hire car when a Police Patrol stopped it – after a brief exchange, he observed the driver of the hire car take a bag of rice from his trunk – the police took it and drove off.
Next he related that he spent part of his childhood in the Golden Grove, Nabaclis area and reading about the many contracts and the wonderful things coming from the Ministry of Education, he was surprised to find the school in the village in such a sorry state.
Finally, he lamented that as an ex-police, our police and teachers are still poorly paid.
After leaving that village, I noticed a convoy of vehicles – enquiries revealed that they were part of a large number of vehicles including sugar estate vehicles that were commissioned to take persons to and from the PPP Rally in Kitty.
One Linden resident told us he was given $3,500 as a meal allowance to attend the said rally.
The previous evening a young man came forward at the vigil on Main Street protesting the ban on Channel 6 – he openly related how he was asked how much he needs to read a Martin Carter poem at the event to commemorate United Nation Year of People of African Descent’, sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport and held at the National Stadium.
When the sum of five thousand dollars was mentioned he was told that more was available. He explained to those of us gathered on the Main Street Avenue, why he refused to sell his soul, but having heard of the vigil came and asked permission to recite the poem, he was allowed and duly did so.
It is clear, the PPP and the government are in possession of substantial sums to purchase support and are in the business of rent a crowd and glitter.
Buses were seen lined up from the Kitty Market to the Sea Wall.
The PPP has been in office for almost two decades, ought they need for such tactics, but they know full well that history repeats itself, and we would always have those to whom money is just about everything.
Kaslay noted. “Money is a bottomless sea, in which honour, conscience and truth may be drowned.”
Let us hope that such persons who take these incentives know how to exercise their franchise so as to avoid future indignities.
Hamilton Green, JP
Sexual fascism in Guyana: Maniacs in the corridors of power
BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER FEATURES / COLUMNISTS, FREDDIE KISSOON
The irony pierces your psyche and lacerates your soul as you read more and more of the condemnations of some perverted politicians in the corridors of power of sexual abuse. Surely, if God exists, he would strike down these hypocrites.
Times like these I ask God where is he. He doesn’t speak to me so I retain my faith in the philosophy. Sexual horrors permeate the corridors of power. I say in evanescent language, most emphatically and unambiguously no PNC Government, under Burnham and Hoyte, and no Caribbean country since self government right up to the present time would tolerate the level of sexual vulgarity, libidinous bestiality and sexual degeneracy that have taken place among high political elites in the power establishment as what we have seen in Guyana since Cheddi Jagan died.
I have made my judgements against the leadership qualities of Cheddi Jagan but I doubt he would have allowed some of his underlings to retain high offices after he found out about their sexual rapacity. I cannot discuss the CN Sharma court case because it is sub judice but some political elites should be investigated too. Here are a few episodes of sexual animalism that ought to galvanize you saving Guyana’s future.
There is this well known figure in the Hindu religion who did crazy things to his innocent secretary. I will live with the regret that I didn’t save that girl’s life. I see her image in front of me now – petite, small visage, long, flowing, curly hair and the look of innocence.
I met her the week before she committed suicide. I went to the government office where she worked for this man that Jagan nurtured for so long in Jagan’s career. She was depressed. She spoke to me of her status as a sexual servant to this man, all in the promise that he would get a visa for her. But the revelation had dawned that he wasn’t going to get her one. She submitted to all kinds of sexual unorthodoxies just to get her visa. But she was caught in a no-win game. She kept serving him to get her visa but he wasn’t going to let her go because she was a source of endless sex.
She told me he refused to return her passport after a relative agreed to attempt to get her a visa. He abused her, threatened to expose her and tore up the passport in front of her in his office. She went home the same day and committed suicide. If ever this government changes hands, I will walk this entire country demanding the prosecution of this aging religious hypocrite. Why talk about Sharma when this guy deserves to be in jail.
What about the little fourteen-year-old girl from the West Coast whose last name is that of a prominent opposition figure? You want to see fear in the eyes of someone, then, talk to her mother about the rape of her daughter. She is so scared that one day they will come and kill her.
This 14-year-old was raped at a known East Bank business place by three wealthy men who give money to a powerful political party with all-powerful politicians. As they were driving her out, a hugely powerful politician was driving in. He stopped to speak to the people inside the car that was leaving. The rape victim saw him, he saw her. The same day, their operatives went to kill her and they threatened her mother. A good man got her to Canada where on investigation by the Refugee Board, she was granted asylum. The Board did send down an agent here to collect evidence. Canada cannot deny this Mr. Big a visa because refugee cases are confidential.
What about the other mother who was given a house lot and one million dollars after one of Janet Jagan’s favourite cadres who holds an important portfolio ravished her fourteen-year-old daughter (seems that they pick on fourteen-year-old girls). Instead of taking her to her home as requested by the mother, he took her to Ogle when he denuded and penetrated her. The mother said to me” “Freddie, I am not going to talk to you about it; you should know nothing will come of it, so why shouldn’t I take the money and the land.” Her last words to me as I left the Ministry where she works was, “Freddie, please don’t write about it; I’m begging you.”
One last example. This other Mr. Big who functions in the legal sector, beat up his lover in his office (he’s married with grown up kids), then literally kicked her down the steps. These people make CN Sharma look like an angel.
Greene was bad for drugs-fight; good for street-crimes- Wiki-leaked US cables
Written by Demerara Waves
Friday, 02 September 2011
Western Nations had threatened to withhold key security cooperation fromGuyana because they could not trust Henry Greene as Police Commissioner due to his alleged links with the drug underworld and inability to protect sensitive information.
“Greene’s new position will have consequences on foreign assistance involving the GPF,” Charge D’Affaires, Michael Thomas said in a July 24 cable that was Wiki-leaked late Thursday night.
The cable from the American embassy here questioned Greene’s confidentiality and labeled him as “crooked” and “grossly incompetent” when he was Crime Chief.
“He is unwilling or unable to protect sensitive information or to fulfill straightforward extradition requests. Greene as Commissioner would be bad for Guyana’s security and would compromise all international cooperation with the Guyana Police Force.
Greene, whose American diplomatic and tourist visas were revoked in days leading up to his July 24, 2006 appointment as acting commissioner has already publicly denied benefiting from the proceeds of drugs. None of the cables released so far has disclosed specific cases of Greene’s alleged criminal activities.
US laws bar the American government from releasing reasons for visa revocations or denials to third parties like the media. But one of the cables says Greene cried when he was told that his visa was being revoked on July 20, 2006 because of information gathered by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
“Greene broke into tears when informed of this, fearing the embarrassment the revocation will cause, and denied involvement with drug trafficking. He expressed surprise that the revocation was not due to his “troubling the girls”,” the cable states.
One of the cables noted that the DEA had given specific language to inform President Jagdeo that the Greene had benefited from drug funds. “U.S. law enforcement has reliable reports from multiple sources that Henry Greene has benefited from, and continues to benefit from, the proceeds of drug trafficking.”
The cables reveal a flurry of shuttle-diplomacy by the American, British, Canadian and European Union envoys here to Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Roger Luncheon and President Bharrat Jagdeo to “head off Greene’s appointment before his swearing-in within the next few days.”
The cable titled “GOG picked crooked police chief despite revoked visa” states that due to Greene’s appointment the US is not pushing ahead with a plan to establish a DEA vetted anti-narcotics unit under Greene’s commissionership. Moves by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to install a gun-trace computer terminal to help the GPF track firearms had been also pulled back.
Similarly, British High Commissioner, Fraser Wheeler had told President Bharrat Jagdeo thrice between July 21 and 24 that the UKgovernment had “concerns about Greene’s elevation” and pre-2006 election training for the police force would have been quashed. The Canadian High Commissioner also told Charge that his government will cease all cooperation with the police if the Greene appointment goes through, states the cable.
But in another cable titled ‘Police Commissioner Greene: Give us Barabas’, then Ambassador David Robinson credited Greene with better dealing with street crimes and that the United States would eventually have to work with the police force under his stewardship.
“Henry Greene is corrupt but he is more effective than his predecessor in controlling the streets. The president is happy in the role of Pontius Pilate and is betting that the donors ultimately will work out some accommodation with the commissioner. He is probably right. We will not rehabilitate Greene, but we will have to cooperate with his police force if he becomes permanent,’ states Robinson in the cable.
The US, according to the cables, appeared upset that Jagdeo and Luncheon had lured the diplomatic community into believing that once Greene’s visa had been revoked his appointment would have been reconsidered.
“This contradicts what he told Charge — that revoking Greene’s visa would give the GoG cover to back down. Luncheon and Jagdeo have been disingenuous throughout this episode, especially in protesting they were unaware of our concerns about Greene,”
Jagdeo had told diplomats that he had been under intense political pressure to stick with Greene but, according to one of the cables “the source of this pressure is unclear.”
The cables released quote the Ambassador as alleging that Greene was linked criminal activities. “Greene’s name appears repeatedly in reporting by various USG agencies in connection with criminal activities,” he said.
The ambassador had told government officials that the US government could not have provided details but “it would be very embarrassing for the GoG if a sitting Police Commissioner were indicted in a foreign court.”
Then Home Affairs Minister, Gail Teixeira, described as the “voice of reason” in the Guyana government had described to diplomats “in some detail her struggles to get Jagdeo and Luncheon to come around to her point of view” concerning Greene.
PLANS BEING HATCHED AGAINST KAIETEUR NEWS
We have learnt from very reliable sources of a plot to fabricate allegations against persons connected with this newspaper so as to lay the basis for them to be charged.
This plot, we understand, has been hatched because of official concerns over the things that this newspaper has been exposing. We have been exposing the rampant corruption, the theft of national resources and the transfer of these resources to colleagues, associates and cohorts.
Certain persons in the upper echelons of the society are adamant that we should not be allowed to continue to report these things in the run-up to general and regional elections. As such, there is a plan to silence Kaieteur News by targeting persons connected with this newspaper.
One senior official has already threatened members of the Kaieteur News that should anybody ever make a mistake, be it traffic or otherwise, that staff member would be faced with the full force of the law and more.
We are not taking these reports lightly and we are hereby notifying our readership about what we have learnt. We are also placing the nation on alert about these plans which we consider devious and a direct assault on freedom of the press. They are so serious that they could force the closure of this newspaper and deny the nation a credible source of information about their interests and welfare.
We have repeatedly said that we will not bow to pressure. We will defend the right to publish matters of public interest and for the right of the people of Guyana to receive this information. As a national newspaper this is our pact with the people of Guyana. We shall not be deterred from doing our job and will zealously guard the canons that we uphold.
Kaieteur News will stand in defence of those associated with this newspaper; those who are being targeted because of the views expressed herein. We shall stand firm in the face of this continued onslaught against our newspaper, but we will be vigilant given the information that has come to hand.
After 19 years of one party rule of Guyana, Mr. Donald Ramotar and the PPP/C must give account to the Guyanese people as to why friends of the government seem to have abundant wealth, while citizens’ paychecks finish before the 10th day of the month. They must answer for the steel bars on every window and door and our citizen’s added stress of living in a crime-ridden society.
Mr. Ramotar’s PPP/C must answer for the systemic abuse of women sanctioned by the actions in the highest office of the land.
They must answer for billions of dollars spent on shoddy roads while officials pocket the people’s tax dollars and political cronies win contracts which make them wealthy.
They must answer for pit latrines, lives devastated by recurring floods and children’s deaths from water-borne diseases.
Mr. Ramotar’s PPP/C must answer for lack of press freedom and the misuse of taxpayer’s dollars to fund the state-sponsored propaganda mouthpieces, the Guyana Chronicle newspaper and the NCN television and radio.
They must answer for hundreds murdered by the death squads during the tenure of former Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Ronald Gajraj.
They must account for billions of dollars in cocaine trafficked by Shaheed ‘Roger’ Khan. They must answer for Pradoville and the abject poverty on Water Street where children sleep at night.
While President Bharrat Jagdeo peers into his crystal ball to give the nation a lesson on election numbers and outcomes, he seems unable to provide any perspective to the Guyanese people on why he continues to use the state’s vast financial resources to politick on Mr. Ramotar’s behalf.
His great numbers acumen seems to fail him when the people inquire as to how multiple Ministers with their limited salaries can afford prime beach-front Pradoville homes which cost upwards of US$1,000,000 while the majority of Guyanese citizens cannot afford basic necessities.
While his crystal ball seems able to project the outcome of the elections in 2011, it seems to provide no indication as to who orchestrated the murders of more than 200 young men in extra-judicial killings.
The crystal ball seems unable to tell the citizens of Guyana why after 19 years of rule, the government now seems able to find money for election year goodies for key constituencies but money cannot be found for raising public sector salaries, for providing a safe place for abused women, for ending drug trafficking and piracy, for sustainable development of the hinterland, for controlling trafficking in persons in the interior, for stamping out violence against women, for running water in the home, for reliable and reasonable rates for electricity and for the implementation of a well thought out plan for youth training, development and employment.
Mr. Donald Ramotar and the PPP/C have a lot of explaining to do to the Guyanese people. While the strategy of rehashing 38-year-old lies seems like an effective diversionary tactic, the people are not fooled. They know the pain of having no cash to buy food items as the children go to bed hungry.
They suffer the indignity of having to call up relatives overseas for an emergency small piece to cover basic living expenses. They live each day with the fear of abuse, robbery, and murder and have no security team to protect them.
The citizens are aware of the moral and spiritual decay of the society as they see Government officials and their friends enriched by corruption and cronyism while the compromised judicial system looks the other way. The people know the pain they live and the PPP/C fear that the people will make another choice in the 2011 election year.
So while President Jagdeo and Mr. Ramotar continue to dabble in magic and convenient number-crunching, APNU Presidential Candidate, Brigadier (ret’d) David Granger continues to work to map out a strategy for the social, spiritual, judicial and economic resuscitation of Guyana.
Mr. Granger continues to welcome all individuals and civil society to join the partnership for national unity and to make a real contribution to the new Guyana. He continues to share his vision of unity, equality, security and prosperity for all Guyanese. A new day is dawning in Guyana and what was will be no more. The people want change and APNU is the only realistic option for that change.
By Stabroek staff
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
President Bharrat Jagdeo is of the view that crime in the region cannot be solved by crafting regional organizations and is suggesting that the place where there will be greater impact on crime is in the domestic jurisdiction.
After refusing free help from the UK to protect the nation, Jagdeo once again does not want foreigners to be able to examine the security apparatus his PPP government have in place, why is this?
Maybe if foreigners are involved people linked to the PPP would not get away with crimes against the nation and the Guyanese public. Cases like those involving Manniram Prashad’s son Navin Prashad will not disappear, proper police investigations would take place in the cases like those involving Donald Ramotar’s son Alexei Ramotar, or that of Office of the president Nanda Gopal, or Minister Kellawan Lall rum shop fiasco. The Phantom Squad murders, the Shaheed ‘Roger’ Khan fiasco, the Minister Clement Rohee refugee scandal.
Murder rate thrice as high compared to United States – 2011 Crime and Safety Report
- Drug trafficking poses biggest challenge to local law enforcement
The murder rate in Guyana is three-times higher than the murder rate in the United States and criminal activity in the capital city of Georgetown continues to increase, particularly violent crimes against people and property.
These were the findings of the Guyana 2011 Crime and Safety report which was complied as United States Department.
The report noted that foreigners, in general, are viewed as targets of opportunity. Serious crime, including murder and armed robbery, continues to be a major problem.
According to 2010 crime statistics the report noted that there were approximately 710 incidents reported to the Regional Security Office (RSO), of which there were 140 murders, 108 shooting incidents, and 143 armed robberies.
The report recommended that U.S. citizens maintain a high level of vigilance, consider security issues when planning activities throughout Guyana, and avoid traveling at night, when possible.
Armed robberies continue to occur intermittently, especially in major businesses and shopping districts. Criminals may act brazenly, and police officers themselves have been the victims of assaults and shootings.
“Vehicle thefts are common any time of the day or night. Vehicle occupants should keep their doors locked, never leave items in plain sight, and be aware of their surroundings at all times. Robbery and vehicle theft occur with some frequency in Georgetown and New Amsterdam (Guyana’s second largest city).
“After dark, it is highly advisable not to walk or bike and only drive from venue to venue. Residential burglaries are less common when homes have guards who pose a deterrent to would-be thieves,” the Guyana 2011 Crime and Safety report stated.
According to the report, criminals are frequently armed and appear to be able to obtain weapons with ease, despite the arduous licensing requirements for the average person. Handguns, knives, and machetes or “cutlasses” are the weapons of choice.
Drug trafficking organizations are prevalent and pose the biggest challenge to local law enforcement in Georgetown. Airport security and customs officials are detaining and arresting individuals on a weekly basis as these try to smuggle drugs out of Guyana into the United States.
Apprehensions of drug “mules,” often U.S. citizens perceived to be able to travel easily with their U.S. passport, have also increased this past year.
The report further underscored that armed robberies of business/patron establishments are becoming increasingly common in Georgetown. Criminals are usually organized, travel in groups of two or more and conduct surveillance on their victims.
The limited police presence in most areas is largely ineffective in preventing crime.
“Local police in Guyana have resource and manpower limitations that inhibit their ability to deter or respond to criminal activity. Police patrols are rare or nonexistent. There is an emergency telephone number “911” for police, fire, or rescue.
The fire department generally provides a timely response, while a police response, especially during the night is less dependable. The police response to emergency calls is often too slow (15 minutes or longer). When the police do respond, they have a limited amount of authority to act on their part, and at times attempt to solicit bribes, as officers are not compensated well,” the report stated.
Parliamentarians cite overpayment to contractors, breaches by GECOM, Police, GPHC,
Taxpayers’ money continues to be spent in breach of the law, a group of Parliamentarians looking at the management of public finances has found, and the opposition feels the non establishment of a Public Procurement Commission adds to the lack of transparency and accountability.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), comprising Parliamentarians of the governing and opposition parties, have completed their assessment of public spending for the years 2007 and 2008.
They say that their concerns about breaches in financial regulations then, continue today.
Volda Lawrence of the main opposition PNCR chairs the PAC. She said that for 2007, the Committee expressed concerns in 13 areas, while there were 14 areas of concern for 2008.
“These concerns which adversely affected the financial management system in those years still exist to date,” she said in the National Assembly yesterday.
However, she said there has been some improvement and change in attitude by accounting officers.
A major concern Lawrence cited is the non-establishment of the Public Procurement Commission, which she said is provided for in nine articles of the constitution.
She noted that the National Procurement Act provides for specific functions of the Public Procurement Commission.
Lawrence said that the PAC is mandated to submit names of nominees for the Commission to National Assembly, but has been unable to do so since the government has not suggested its nominees.
“This delay has hampered the effective scrutiny and transparency of the procurement of goods and services and the execution of works to promote fair competition among suppliers and contractors. More so it hampers transparency in the procurement process,” Lawrence declared.
The constitution provides for the Commission to comprise persons of various professions and Lawrence said that the PNC submitted its names since 2003, with two replacements due to death.
Member of the Public Accounts Committee, Lance Carberry said that the ruling PPP had submitted its names but when those names were to be considered, the ruling party said that it was withdrawing them and would submit a new list. That new list was submitted and then withdrawn.
Donald Ramotar of the ruling PPP, said the fact is that in order to accelerate the work, the PPP, being the majority party in Parliament, suggested that it submit three nominees and the PNC would submit two nominees.
However, Ramotar said this did not find favour with the PNC.
Lawrence expressed hope that the Commission could be established before the current Parliament is dissolved to make way for elections later this year.
“While the appointment of a Public Procurement Commission now will be equivalent to closing the stable gates after the horses have bolted, and would not correct the lack of scrutiny and transparency which occurred during this Parliament, it may guarantee transparency during any future government,” Lawrence stated.
Among the breaches to financial regulations Lawrence cited was the matter of over payment to contractors by ministries and regions. She said that in many of projects allocated to contractors, payments are made, or are supposed to be made, on a certification of completion.
On inspection of the projects, however, Lawrence said it has been noted that there has been non-adherence to specifications.
For example, in the construction of doctor’s quarters at Charity and a medical clinic in Pomeroon, she said there were changes in the quality and quantity of materials used. She said doors were missing, floors were not completed and grill work was not in place, yet a certificate of completion was issued.
Lawrence lamented that the money is not easily recouped because contractors have already been paid based on the “so called” certification of completion issued by Regions and Ministries.
The PAC has recommended that officers and consultants who affixed their signatures to certificates of completion in which over payments are found should be sanctioned or surcharged where necessary.
Lawrence said that the Committee has expressed concern over the possible collusion between contractors and officials of agencies. As a result, the PAC has recommend that legal action be taken where necessary and that regional officials make log make entries when visiting projects with a view to having records that could be used for audit verifications.
Non-clearance of advances was another issue cited by the PAC. It feels the Accountant General’s office is unable to keep track of the clearance of conference advances to public officials in a timely manner and this reflects negatively on the consolidated funds.
She said that there continues to be large un-cleared advances and that many of these are for persons who may have exited the system or who are deceased.
The Committee noted several agencies which continue to have not cleared advances. In Region Nine, she said the matter has been ignored. She said the amount in question is $7.1 million, paid out to regional executive officers, members of the Regional Democratic Council, the Guyana Police Force and the Guyana Defence Force as advances.
Despite several promises to have these advance cleared, to date this has not occurred, Lawrence pointed out.
She also pointed out that breaches by the Guyana Police Force.
According to Lawrence, only this week, she had cause to write the Commissioner of Police regarding the non-submission of reports concerning a number of issues with respect to loss of public property, amounting to $75.8 million for matters going as far back as 1993.
The PAC has stated that where discrepancies have been noted, measures should be instituted to avoid recurrences, but unless the Police provide requisite reports, matters of this nature would not be addressed.
Regarding subvention agencies, Lawrence said the list of these agencies breaking the law is “inexhaustible.”
She said it is alarming that at each presentation of the PAC report, this concern is addressed, but the subvention agencies continue to default in provision financial statements. In these cases, she said it is difficult to ascertain accountability and transparency for the appropriations.
Lawrence pointed out that the National Trust has never submitted financial statements since its establishment.
In addition, she said the state planning secretariat, which ought to have been dissolved several years ago, continues to exist and receive a subvention, but has not submitted a report since 1991.
The Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) is also guilty of not submitting financial statements since its establishment in 1999.
She said that the Corporation by not returning revenues generated to the consolidated fund is in clear violation the law, which states that “all public monies raised or received by the government shall be credited fully and promptly to the consolidated fund.”
While the PAC has reported and spoken of this breach of the law, the hospital continues to flout the regulation without any sanction being imposed.
Regarding the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) the PAC said there is a “blatant breach” of financial regulations, including the Commission’s alleged interference with the work of the accounting officer. The PAC is preparing a special report on GECOM.
Meanwhile, the PAC has concluded its work regarding public spending in 2009 and is looking to table that report before the end of the Ninth Parliament.
|Written by realTalk|
|Sunday, 12 June 2011 13:31|
|Many Guyanese blindly support the PPP government and are either not aware or choose to ignore the severe effects of crime that have tormented Guyana and continue to do at alarming rates. All the talk about the 40 and 50 year old events that took place in this country under the PNC is but a tiny speck when compared to the very large ever spreading blotch painted in blood that continues to run on the fabric of our society.
A few months after the dawn of the new era of democracy in Guyana in 1992, Monica Reece was flung from a speeding car on Main Street Georgetown. It was to mark the beginning of a vile and treacherous era of organized crime in Guyana. To trace the birth and rise of organized crime in Guyana during the last 19 years would require a book. No column can do justice to the darkest period of our history.
The Guyana Police Force unfortunately played a crucial role in the nurture of crime in the Guyanese society through its ambivalence with regard to its crime solving ability. The wanton engagement in extrajudicial killings began in the mid-90s and rose to dizzying levels with the ‘Black Clothes’ wreaking havoc on the unsuspected and the unprepared. These events, from little Jermaine in Albouystown in the late 90s to Shaka Blair and Yohance Douglas in 2002 and the others that followed, place the Guyana Police Force in a very precarious position where extrajudicial killings in Guyana are concerned.
With extrajudicial killings rapidly intensifying in the 90s, it did not come as a surprise when the disgraced former US Embassy employee, Mr. Thomas Carol, identified members of the ‘Black Clothes’ as being his muscle used to extort monies from persons caught up in his ‘Back-Track’ scheme. This did not mean that members of the Force were disciplined. No. This new era of democracy saw the wanton rewarding of incompetence. The elite ‘Black Clothes’ police continued their vicious work of taking lives, instead of solving crime.
The prison break of 2001 introduced Guyanese to a display of unrestrained violence never seen before. According to the Police, the escapees allegedly went on a robbing and murdering spree in Georgetown and other parts of Guyana. There was much violence in Georgetown, the East Coast and some parts of Berbice. And soon every robbery and murder was being pinned on the escapees. This led to an all-out man hunt countrywide for this band of robbers and murderers.
What happened as a result of this wave of terrorism in Guyana was the rise of a self-appointed vigilante, drug lord and businessman Saheed Roger Khan. He said he offered his expertise to the government and played a very instrumental role in bringing the escapees to justice. How could a criminal fugitive from the United States of America – a drug lord – assist in fighting crime? It is incomprehensible.
Dead bodies started surfacing all over Georgetown with multiple bullet wounds with no apparent explanation. This went on for a few years. Certain alleged drug kingpins were also terminated. And so it seemed as if amongst the eradication of the escapees, a teeming turf war had ensued. The emergence of George Bacchus and his revealing testimony that introduced Guyanese to the startling connection shared by the government and Mr. Khan’s outfit shed new light on the level of violence that was being perpetrated. George Bacchus execution-style death generated several questions that remain unanswered to this day.
Strangely, the recently concluded manhunt for Osama Bin Laden, the world’s most wanted man bears some striking similarities to our local hunt for the escapees. The same way Mr. Bin Laden was found living comfortably in luxury in the midst of suburban Pakistan not far from its military school is the same way some of our escapes were found in the suburban Georgetown area of Lamaha Gardens, a few doors from the then Minister of Home Affairs. They were killed there.
The kidnapping of a former US Embassy employee saw the embassy issuing a one million dollar reward for the capture of Shawn Brown (one of the notorious escapees). However, less than a week after that Brown was traced to a luxurious home in another suburban part of Georgetown in an area called Prashad Nagar and was gunned down allegedly during a firefight with security forces.
While the joint services operation was combing the harsh backlands of Buxton, the escapees enjoyed life in very quiet neighborhoods in Georgetown. What was the support system offered to them and by whom? Was the jailbreak a quest for freedom or was there an underlying more sinister motive involved?
Mr. Khan himself is now in jail in the US and his trial revealed many things about the role of certain government ministers in his paramilitary organisation’s role in Guyana. The ‘thin’ brothers, Fine Man and Skinny, are all also off the scene, yet carefully organised drive-by shootings continue to occur.
Ronald Waddell, along with over 200 other Guyanese, was executed during that dark period in our history. A serving Minster of the Government was assassinated in 2006; a prominent businessman was abducted in 2008, clinically beheaded and subsequently dumped in the city. When government politicians talk about blood on the hands of other politicians from the 70s, what do they really mean? Is Guyana safer today than it was in the 1973? Has more blood been shed during this new era of democracy or when the PNC ruled?
The views expressed in this and other columns do not necessarily reflect the views of Demerara Waves.