The PPP on trial
OCTOBER 8, 2012 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER LETTERS
Some in the PPP like to claim how effective the government is, even when little or no evidence of such exists. Moreover, when challenged to provide proof, they create the context, and in some instances turn to propaganda and distortions to justify their self-assessed effectiveness with a view to persuade the masses about how hard they have been toiling on their behalf.
And even when the Jagdeo/Ramotar regime is drowning in their own manufactured hogwash, they become so immune to it that they are not bothered or shaken by the views of the opposition or by the sentiments and perceptions of the people.
This kind of stubbornness and narcissistic behaviour by the PPP regime is bordering on being insensitive to the needs of the youths and the poor and the working class.
The Jagdeo/Ramotar PPP regime is on trial because they have displayed a sense of heartlessness toward the youths and the poor and the working class in Guyana. Based on their actions, we are convinced that the PPP cabal is completely removed from the reality that exists beyond the glass casing that separates them from the masses they pretend to serve.
The truth is that even on their best days their pretence is so obnoxious that they drive away their own supporters in droves. It is indisputable that this type of behaviour by the Jagdeo/ Ramotar regime is predictable and reactive as if they are at a Grand Opera.
The PPP regime has shown total contempt for Parliament and the combined opposition in that the Attorney General Anil Nadalall has not only challenged the no-confidence motion against the Minister of Home Affairs Mr. Rohee in the courts but he and the PPP cabal have also distorted the decision of the Chief Justice Ian Chang in the budget case to mislead the public.
The opposition is aware of this but they have done nothing to prevent the Minister of Finance Ashni Singh from using the Contingency Funds to pay the contract workers at the Office of the President.
The majority opposition must end their lackadaisical posture and stand up and represent the people as Sharma Solomon and Vanessa Kissoon did at Linden. We believe that if the people of Linden had waited for APNU to represent them in the manner Solomon and Kissoon did, they would have waited in vain because it was the leaders of APNU who in April cut backroom deals with the PPP to increase the electricity rates at Linden that led to the protest and the subsequent murders of three unarmed young men.
For one reason, the opposition parties need plenipotentiaries to coordinate their policies and to maintain the same or similar line of argument/criticism against the PPP. For another, both the AFC and APNU should start the process of developing a shadow budget in order to have an estimated amount of the cost of next year’s budget.
It is our understanding that the PPP intends to bloat the budget in excess of $40 billion with the expectation that the opposition will cut part of that amount and still leave them with the required amount needed for fiscal year 2013. And the leader of the Parliamentary opposition who prides himself as a security Czar is yet to present a security plan/bill to Parliament.
The minority PPP-led government has had enough time to improve the standard of living in Guyana but they have failed to demonstrate to the masses that they are the stewards who are worthy of their trust. The regime has had enough time to formulate an economic development plan to create employment for the youths and those willing to work, a crime prevention program, an Anti-Corruption Agency to reduce corruption, and an educational curriculum to shrink the failures at examinations. But so far, the Jagdeo/Ramotar regime has not even come close of achieving any of the above. In fact, the Minister of Education Priya Manickchand should stop masquerading over inconsequential issues such as the flogging of students and focus on the bigger issue of reducing failures to a minimum.
It may appear to Mr. Ramotar and his government that things are hunky-dory, but nothing could be further from the truth—times are extremely hard for the youths and the poor and the working class who are at their wits end to put food on the table. The Jagdeo/Ramotar regime should know by now that the clock is ticking, the tension is building and the poor and the working class are about to explode under the enormous pressure.
These are tough times. Crime and violence, narcotics trafficking and corruption are on the upswing, unemployment continues to rise to new heights, real wages have declined, frustration and misery are peaking, and yet the government seems clueless as to the seriousness and extensiveness of the plight of the poor and the working class. Still, some in the PPP and their wealthy friends appear to live so comfortable that one wonders which country they live in.
In conclusion, for those who continue to harbour doubts about which political party we support, one thing remains clear: we are not beholden to any party. We shall always be guided by truth and honesty. And while we do not aspire to assume any meaningful role, we remain grounded in our conviction and steadfast love for Guyana, sufficient to declare that any criticisms of the opposition are not that we love them less, but that we love Guyana and Guyanese more. Our conscious is our guide.
Dr. Asquith Rose and Harish S. Singh
AUGUST 12, 2012 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER NEWS
…tells horror stories of GRA, Customs and greedy contractors
His letter writings in the daily newspapers are provocative, raising serious issues regarding life in Guyana. But all that may very well pale in comparison to what he did on Friday.
Gabriel “G.H.K.” Lall, who returned to Guyana in the early 2000s after living for 30 years abroad, has penned a book on corruption in Guyana, insisting that the issue is a deep-rooted one that may have to take leaders from both sides of the divide to help root out.
It may very well generate hot controversy and debate.
G.H.K. Lall with his insightful book on corruption in Guyana
Titled, “Guyana: A National Cesspool of Greed, Duplicity & Corruption (A Remigrant’s Story)”. The book is a brutally honest one, filled with strong descriptions of Lall’s experience with the Guyana Revenue Authority and “greedy” workers there.
Lall also told tales of being ripped off by contractors, scams by bank employees and auto dealers and even of corruption at the Deeds Registry.
The remigrant, now in his 50’s, does volunteer work in the education field.
The book, which was launched Friday to a small gathering at Marian Academy, chronicles Lall’s return to Guyana and a growing intolerance of the “corruption obscenity of public officials and fellow citizens.”
Among those present at the launching were trade unionists, former Auditor General Anand Goolsarran and Chief Executive Officer of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, Michael Khan.
Lall said that what he has written on corruption in Guyana is nothing new and is known to all Guyanese.
“It is not a story about one crooked public official, or one sleazy borrower, or one counterfeit contractor, or one traitorous family member. Rather, it is the accumulated, searing revelations highlighted from the journey of one man in the untamed jungles of Guyana,” the Preface informs.
It went further. “Greed and duplicity and corruption in Guyana cut across race – I have had terrible experiences with Indian, Black, Dougla and Amerindian folks: those I had the misfortune to deal with manifested certain common characteristics: a serious lack of scruples, a sense of entitlement and an unwillingness to travel the hard, grueling road of sacrifice.”
In one instance in the book, Lall whose wife has passed away, spoke of bringing in his prized possessions and being forced to fork over $150,000 after they were assessed as commercial and not personal items. It was the same attitude of corruption that he found at GRA while processing his application for duty free concessions.
“Corruption is not a Georgetown, Berbice or Essequibo problem but rather a “national” one,” he stresses.
The author described as an insult, the decision by the US Embassy not to accept local documents from Guyana when an application is made for a visa. He likened the revelations of corruption to incest, which nobody wants to talk about, but needs to come to light.
The remigrant, lauding Kaieteur News and Stabroek News for their exposure of corruption, urged for political leaders, professional bodies and other pressure groups to apply pressure to weed out a system that is deep-rooted.
Earlier, attorney-at-law, Gino Persaud, who also happens to be President of the Chapter of Transparency International, noted that corruption hurts everyone and feeds inequality.
“It affects the building of roads and schools, and payments to teachers, nurses and police and takes away resources from the masses, enriching a few,” Persaud stated
He also pointed out that it is a fact that Guyana has rated a lowly 134 out of 183 on the global Corruptions Perception Index.
Also speaking at the launching was former Auditor General Goolsarran who noted that he too returned to Guyana as a remigrant, only six months ago, and said he is “angry, sad and ashamed” at the corruption level in the country which is at the “crossroads”.
Goolsarran, an outspoken letter writer also, admitted to being targeted and even ridiculed by family members because of his stance on corruption. He urged for Guyanese to speak out more.
The book is being sold at the Austin’s Book Store, on Church Street.
Henry Greene forced out after rape allegations
Embattled Commissioner of Police Henry Greene’s resignation has been finalized;
ending months of speculation over his continued tenure as the country’s Top Cop in the face of rape allegations made by a 34-year-old mother of two.
While senior government officials have declined to confirm Greene’s departure, Greene was offering ‘no comment’ to queries from various sections of the media.
The latest call for his ouster came from former Minister of Human Services and Social Security Priya Manickchand, who was responsible for piloting the new Sexual Offences Act of 2010.
Manickchand, who is now Minister of Education, is the highest ranking government official so far to call for Greene to step down.
Yesterday, Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee refused to confirm reports of Greene’s resignation, advising that the administration was likely to issue an official statement on the matter.
He also advised this newspaper to contact Greene himself.
Two days ago Rohee said that the jury was still out on Greene’s return to the top police post.
Acting Commissioner Leroy Brumell also declined to comment when approached by this newspaper.
Greene, who is over the age of retirement, had been on administrative leave since December 17, last year, to facilitate the investigation into the allegation made against him.
In what eventually turned out to be the scandal of the year, the 34-year-old woman alleged that she was raped by the Commissioner of Police at a city hotel.
The woman alleged that she was forced to have sex with Greene after she was induced with cash and a promise to assist her in a matter that is presently engaging the attention of the police.
Greene had dismissed the woman’s claims as mere allegations and had declared that god will be his judge, although he later admitted to having consensual sex with her.
Following weeks of investigations by a team of detectives from the Jamaica Constabulary Force, under the supervision of Crime Chief Seelall Persaud, the Director of Public Prosecution advised that Greene be charged with rape.
However, Greene successfully got the High Court to overturn the DPP’s advice with Chief Justice Ian Chang ruling that the decision to charge Greene was irrational.
Greene’s admission to having consensual sex with the woman was another major bone of contention, since it is being argued that he used his office in an improper manner.
The first to call for his resignation was his predecessor Winston Felix, who had told the media that it would have been the most honourable thing to do.
Felix’s call was followed by others from the Guyana Association of Women Lawyers and other women’s groups, and the main opposition political parties, the Alliance For Change and A Partnership for National Unity.
In December last year, AFC leaders Raphael Trotman and Khemraj Ramjattan called for Greene’s immediate removal from office.
“As a matter of fact, based on what we have heard, we feel that he ought to tender his resignation or the President ought to dismiss him….but at the very least at this stage… an interdiction,” Ramjattan had stated.
Trotman, commenting on the issue had declared that the matter was the first real test for newly elected Head of State Donald Ramotar.
The Guyana Association of Women Lawyers (GAWL) had also condemned Greene’s actions and had called on the administration to remove him as the Commissioner of Police.
“It is reasonable to conclude that Mr. Greene has in fact lost the moral authority to lead the Guyana Police Force and should therefore no longer be required to so do,” the GAWL said.
APNU had this to say: “In renewing our call we wish to remind the Guyanese public that having passed the age of retirement Mr. Greene is no longer the constitutional holder of the office of Commissioner of Police rather he is an employee/servant of the Government and as such he can be removed forthwith.”
This is not the first time that Greene’s name has been embroiled in a controversial issue which has threatened his tenure as the country’s chief lawman
In fact, his first day on the job, six years ago, was greeted with the announcement that the United States of America had revoked his visa to that country.
The Bharrat Jagdeo Government did not budge and retained him even in the face of severe criticism from several sections of the society.
They later argued that the decision to appoint Greene as Commissioner of Police was justified when, at the helm of the force, he presided over the demise of the infamous Rondell ‘Fine Man’ Rawlins and his criminal gang.
Greene’s tenure as the Commissioner of Police was extended after he had reached the age of retirement three years ago.
From 1992 to 2006, the PPP dominated Guyana politics. However, change was reshaping the PPP and the political landscape from 2006. 2011 delivered the first sign of the dimming future the PPP faces.
While it remains the strongest political party in terms of numerical support, the PPP has seen a steady decline of its support from a high of 220,000 in 2001 to 166,000 a mere decade and two elections later. Of all the major parties, the PPP is the only party that has steadily declined from its 2001 high. The PNC has see-sawed back from its 2006 demise while the AFC has made steady but marginal gains.
The PPP on the other hand has steadily lost some 54,000 votes since 2001. These losses can be explained by demographic changes affecting the PPP’s main voting support group, Indians, which as a population is declining at the fastest rate amongst all ethnic groups due to migration and lower birth rates.
Then there is the growing Indian disenchantment with the corruption, internal dictatorship, hijacking of the party apparatus by a few, wrongdoing and other ills that are commonly associated with the PPP power cabal. Before the arrival of the AFC, the PPP obtained the largest percentage of crossover ethnic votes from Amerindians and Mixed Races.
The AFC has split this vote while a substantial segment of these two ethnic groups have stopped voting at all. Combine these chilling facts with the dramatic decline in ethnic voting determined by support for ethnic parties (only 61% to 63% voted for PPP and PNC/APNU since 2006 whereas both got 90% of total votes in 2001) and the future of the PPP is only going to get bleaker. The internal wranglings of the PPP have deflated many of its traditional supporters.
With weak handpicked leadership in the presidency, internal dictatorship dominating the party machinery, no real change in personnel (Rohee is still around), the continuation of square pegs in round holes like Bishop Juan Edghill as Junior Finance Minister, the strongly suggestive influence of the reviled Bharrat Jagdeo, corruption continuing unabated, no dynamic new leadership on the horizon, Indian awakening and independence and Indian psychological liberation from the PPP (see Berbice in last election), decreasing ethnic voting, alienation of its own membership, campaigning laziness (‘wine-down sessions as opposed to intensive campaigning), hijacking of the party by a handful of suspect types and the continued full exhibition of incompetence, mismanagement and maladministration, the PPP is in a serious bind for the future.
Unless the PPP undergoes a radical democratization and transparency transformation like the PNC with new leadership on board, it will likely suffer further losses in the future. Even if some Indians who departed for the manna from Moses (Nagamootoo) are to return, demographic realities impacting Indians and an even further massive disappearance of the crossover votes from Amerindians and Mixed Races will harm the PPP in 2016. Whereas in the past the PPP needed these crossover voters to secure a majority, the party needs them now to secure a plurality.
The PPP is losing the little multiethnic appeal it held to Amerindians and Mixed Races while it is bleeding Indian supporters, particularly the younger Indian generation which is no longer an assured vote for the PPP. That is a volatile and depressing combination. As the election result demonstrated, the attempt to resurrect fear amongst Indians failed or only partially succeeded.
It is no longer a proven political ballistic. Indians want more than fear and the PPP has not offered it. Indians want credible political leadership. The PPP cannot offer it.
Unless the PPP allows the brilliant sunshine of democracy to erupt within its party, it will face more apathy and revulsion from its traditional supporters. Its arrogant refusal to change that which failed before and jettisoned its supporters will generate more political casualties.
What is truly tragic is that the PPP led by that celebrated incompetent, Robert Persaud, rather brazenly and barefacedly tried to blame PPP supporters and Indians in particular for the party’s inability to secure a majority without casting the entire quarry of stones at the cabal running the PPP that has deformed the party and wrecked its integrity and symbiosis with the people.
The Guyanese people have advanced beyond the PPP’s model of building often shoddy infrastructure and bottling it as the entirety of progress and development. People want a better quality of life that values life and human dignity.
While it is difficult to see the PNC/APNU overcoming that 26,000 gulf in votes between it and the PPP in the next election, it could in the election thereafter. What if by some miracle the PNC/APNU wins power in 2016. Has the PPP prepared its followers for that reality? The future of the PPP lies not in ethno-politics but in trying to erase ethno-politics to appeal to the changing demographics of its own support and to try to win back the departing droves.
A minority government run by a race-based party cannot offer security to its supporters and to the nation without serious change in the way its does business. The fact of the matter is that the PPP has not changed at all or has not metamorphosed to enable its own supporters to face a better future.
The handful of failed leaders running the PPP inner circle are so consumed with getting power and filling pockets that they have missed the potential consequences of their actions upon their supporters and the nation in general.
As it stands, the Parliament and most importantly, the armed forces (army and police) are dominated by non-PPP parties and supporters. Has the PPP considered where the allegiance of the army lies when a delicate matter of national importance puts the executive and the majority in Parliament at loggerheads? What if this minority government situation existed in the early 2000s during the crime wave? Could there ever arise an instance where the armed forces back the decision of Parliament over the executive?
The future of the PPP lies in using the next five years to implement serious changes to erase ethnic imbalances so that it can regain its crossover votes, minimize ethnic insecurity and bring fairness and equity back into the fold. The PPP must start with serious ethnic balancing of the armed forces. Continue with making Gecom independent and hardened to political manipulation. Implement various rights-based and equity oriented organizations and commissions.
Even if some in the current PPP inner circle may consider keeping power by any means, the reality is that the armed forces which had no problems with the PNC’s propagation of dictatorship will not take kindly to any contemplation of dictatorship by the PPP. This raises the question of whether the PPP will consider rigging the vote in 2016 if its support continues to fall and the PNC is in danger of pipping it?
Will an ethnically imbalanced security forces ever take electoral skulduggery from the PPP lying down? Believe it or not, the future of the PPP lies not, as it presently appears, in the pursuit of internal dictatorship or in ethnic voting but in democracy and the reduction of ethnic voting.
Outside of the AFC, it is the party with the best ability to transform into a strong multiethnic force and to capture votes outside of the African and Indian majority populations. The future is darkening for the PPP. As long as it continues down this autocratic and arrogant road, encroaching darkness may end up being a permanent blackout.
An Open Letter to Minister Clement Rohee
JANUARY 25, 2012 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER LETTERS
Dear Minister Rohee,
I arrived in Guyana with the full expectation that something unpleasant may happen to me. I took the necessary precautions, avoided taking unnecessary risks and was very vigilant during my entire stay there. But I did not go to Guyana to be locked away indoors. I intended having a good time, and that I did.
However, just when I thought my fears were unfounded, I was selected for some special treatment… courtesy of the Guyana Government.
As planned, I arrived at Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) early for my return trip home to New York. At the check-in counter, I was informed almost apologetically by the Caribbean Airlines employee that I had been “Selected by the Government of Guyana for a Secondary Security Search (SSSS)”. The young lady was so professional in the way she made the announcement, it almost sounded as though I had won the lottery jackpot.
This instruction, I was told, came directly from the Government of Guyana and had nothing to do with the airline. My two suitcases were tagged with the initials “SSSS”. A dog sniffed my luggage, and they were thoroughly inspected by airline security and a second time by a police detective from the CID. Before reaching the Departure Lounge, I was searched a third time, and yet a fourth before departure. There, I was again thoroughly searched, complete with a body pat down as if they were desperate to find something on me. They were disappointed I’m sure. I was the last passenger to board.
But it did not end there; upon my arrival at JFK Airport in New York, I was horrified to see stickers on both my suitcases, with instructions to “Call Security”. Whoever was responsible for putting my name on the blacklist at CJIA, is guilty of exercising a wicked abuse of power, designed to harass and intimidate me, and get US Border & Customs officials to do the same, by implying that I am in possession of some illegal substance.
The entire paragraph above was written last March 2011 after I had returned from Guyana, where I celebrate my birthday. You may recall that event, for we met briefly at Palm Court. I was advised against publishing the letter, because I was told it may be an isolated case. But the fact that it’s happening every time I travel from Guyana, proves to be deliberate. For since then, I have been the victim of harassment every time I depart CJIA.
Although I’m no longer subject to the intense Secondary Security Search, the “Call Security” stickers are still placed on my baggage tags, resulting in my luggage being opened and searched in Trinidad where my valuables are being stolen, and again at JFK Airport in New York.
I know that these “Call Security” stickers originate in Guyana, because unlike last March when Caribbean Airlines changed planes, forcing New York bound passengers and their luggages to disembark, I did not change planes in Trinidad last August on my return trip from Guyana. As such, my luggage was not taken off the plane there. But when I arrived in New York, the “Call Security” stickers were there. Both suitcases had notices placed inside advising me that they were opened and inspected by US Customs & Homeland Security.
Of course, they found nothing, and nothing was stolen. But this confirmed my suspicion that my gold jewelry and other valuables that were stolen from my suitcases last March, was by one or more customs officials in Trinidad. And they were given the green light to do so by someone in the Guyana Government who authorized placing those stickers on my baggage tags.
As you are aware, Minister Rohee, I was recently in Guyana for a week, and attended the opening of Parliament there. When I departed CJIA last Monday, I was relieved at not being unduly searched by airport security. When the plane touched down in Trinidad, although there was no prior indication from Caribbean Airlines that New York bound passengers had to disembark there, once again we were told to do so to accommodate a change of aircraft.
I was fearful of this, but I had taken the precaution in Guyana of putting all my valuables in my carryon bag. One suitcase was totally empty, but the other filled with clothes, shoes, and a few items that if stolen, I could afford to lose.
When I finally arrived at JFK in New York, I was once again very annoyed to see that my full suitcase was opened and those dreadful “Call Security” stickers plastered on my baggage tags.
When I got home, I realized that the hook on the zipper of my expensive suitcase was broken, apparently it was easier to break that than to open the lock, and two sealed bottles of my expensive colognes were stolen: Dolce Gabbana and Gucci Guilty. The colognes can easily be replaced, but I can never lock my US$400 Samsonite suitcase again. It is now useless for travel.
I cannot continue taking these loses and harassment every time I visit relatives and friends in the land of my birth. And to be quite frank, there are very few, including yourself, and Commissioner of Police Henry Greene, who has the authority to dictate whose names are placed on the blacklist at the airport.
As such, I call upon you and the Police Commissioner to make public any incriminating report, document, photograph or audio evidence that would suggest Harry Gill to be a risk to the nation security of Guyana, or the national security of any other nation. I further give you permission to make public anything in your files that would suggest Harry Gill is known by the Guyana Police of being involved in any criminal or subversive activity.
But I am confident this will never happen. For my only crime, Sir, was to call for your resignation and that of Police Commissioner Henry Greene in some of my previous letters.
No one should be allowed to use his/her position in Government to intimidate and harass any citizen for voicing their opinion.
The security of CJIA falls under your portfolio. You must be aware of all the names that are blacklisted at the airport, even if you did not put them there yourself. You must know the culprit that maliciously put my name there.
I therefore call upon you, Minister Rohee, to delete my name from that list forthwith, or publish the reason it is there. In any event, I want some assurance that the next time I visit Guyana, I will not suffer the same harassment and personal losses whenever I’m forced to change planes in Trinidad, and if I get this assurance, there would be no reason for me to consult a leading attorney in Guyana to have this simple, personal, vindictive matter cleared up once and for all.
By STABROEK STAFF | EDITORIAL | MONDAY, JANUARY 23, 2012
As President Ramotar settles into his mandate and comes to grips with his agenda for the year and beyond, nothing will test his freedom of action and sincerity in reforming the security sector like the question of a full investigation into the rampage here of convicted drug lord Roger Khan and whether his activities ensnared senior members of the last two administrations or at worse criminalized them.
It is the proverbial elephant in the room. No other issue can hold a candle to it. Every other security matter will be a jigsaw missing its biggest piece without a true accounting for the Khan penetration of the security apparatus, his run-amok phantom squad and the ease with which he trafficked in cocaine. In his previous roles as PPP General Secretary and as presidential hopeful, like many others high up in the PPP/C and the government, Mr Ramotar did not grapple with the seriousness of the problem. His position then was quite likely in conformity with the stance of former President Jagdeo. Mr Ramotar is now, however, the person in the seat of the presidency and he now has to answer as President.
Whenever they get their act together, the parliamentary opposition will no doubt press the issue of the Khan inquiry and whether this entails a full-blown investigation of all of the violence and carnage of 2002-2008. The parties aside, there would be few independent-minded people in this country who would be opposed to a full-fledged Commission of Enquiry into the Khan reign of terror and drugs. This enquiry must be done for all the people of this country, particularly those who were directly affected by the terror and lost loved ones to the actions of this man who now sits in a US jail instead of having been subjected to the full extent of the law here and possible incarceration at Lot 12 Camp Street. The enquiry must not be seen as a trade-off between the parties or haggled into a reductive undertaking as was the case of the hearing into the allegations against former minister Gajraj.
Indeed, President Ramotar is in pole position to stake out the high ground. He can declare his intention to investigate the Khan period and enable a commission of enquiry with full powers. There may be challenges within his party and administration to it but it would be the right and appropriate thing to do. It is also worthy of note that Minister Ramsammy whose name was mentioned in a US court in relation to the permission for the purchase of spy equipment for Khan’s use has been retained in the Cabinet.
Despite the absence of a criminal investigation here into the many crimes that Khan was alleged to have committed, the disclosures in several cases in New York coupled with the revelations contained in the WikiLeaks cables place beyond any doubt that Khan was allowed to conduct his affairs here without fear of prosecution because of his connections. Where government officials are alleged to have been caught up in these matters the Rubicon has been crossed and the pathway to law and order and just governance has to be swiftly retraced.
Whether the government proceeds with foreign-funded reform of the police force which was so perversely obstructed by senior government members in the Jagdeo administration will not matter much if the nub of the Khan reign isn’t unlocked, understood and extensive walls built to defend against a recurrence.
Ultimately Khan is the one who is answerable. He has thrown in the towel and pleaded guilty. Surely he may now be in the frame of mind where he recognizes the futility of denying his role in the cocaine-spiked bloodshed here. He faces the prospect of being returned here upon the completion of his sentence in the US. He must certainly be aware that he would be a person of enormous interest in any number of murder investigations in connection with which his name has been called but for which there was never any prosecution. He might be prepared to make a clean breast of it and perhaps provide testimony to the Commission of Enquiry. On a state to state basis the Ramotar administration should be prepared to approach Washington on the prospect of having access to Mr Khan in his cell. This as we have said before is a matter that is perfectly in the domain of the President. There need not be any acrimonious parting of ways with the opposition over this matter.
Mr Khan fled here as a fugitive from American justice in 1993 – months after the PPP/C came to power – and at the time of his arrest in June 2006 he had taken over Kaow Island, owned and operated several businesses, had a private army and had been on the verge of securing a forestry lease in the south of Guyana undoubtedly for the continuation of his nefarious business. The collapse of that deal has raised questions about his possible involvement in the killing of Minister Satyadeow Sawh. All of this transpired under thirteen uninterrupted years of PPP/C governance and it is the PPP/C that has to enable its own conduct to be examined. Khan’s free reign was clearly a product of the compromised and broken security sector which the PPP/C never bothered too much about as control of the apparatus was its prime consideration. This commission of enquiry would be not so much about Khan’s mastery of the degraded security apparatus but as to whether government officials or the government knowingly facilitated his ascendancy for whatever reason. This is what President Ramotar’s government needs to get to the bottom of before it can embark on the much needed reforms to the security sector.
Spin Back – US revokes Guyana ruling PPPC goon Kwame McCoy’s visa amid allegations of child solicitation
US revokes Kwame McCoy’s visa
By STABROEK STAFF | WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2009
The United States has revoked the non-immigrant visa of Office of the President Press and Publicity Officer Kwame McCoy as of Monday amid allegations of child solicitation that have been levelled against him.
In correspondence seen by this newspaper last evening, the US Embassy wrote that McCoy’s B1/B2 visa which was issued on March 6, 2009 has been revoked. Up to press time last night McCoy said no such correspondence has reached him, but he declared he is not worried should the information be confirmed as true.
McCoy told Stabroek News last night that if any letter of a visa revocation exists the most likely reason for such action would be the current allegations against him, allegations which he dismissed as unfounded. He also questioned whether the child in the case “exists”. McCoy said there appears to be no interest on the part of the US to enquire into the basis of such allegations and to determine whether they can be substantiated. According to him, any revocation on such grounds simply demonstrates how uninformed decisions could be taken based on “mere allegations”.
McCoy turned his attention to the US government saying an examination of its policies would point to the state offering protection to a confessed murderer who “admitted to being part of a criminal gang that killed (Ronald) Waddell among other things but now he and his entire family is being protected by the US”. McCoy added that the public will judge the facts.
“…I am not worried at all if my visa was revoked because thankfully the US has no control over where I travel”, he added.
A taped conversation between an adult and a child surfaced in September and on the recording, the two speakers discuss plans for a sexual liaison. McCoy, who is also a member of the Rights of the Child Commission and a PPP/C Region Four Regional Democratic Council representative has denied that it is his voice on the recording, and deemed it a clear fabrication aimed at “smearing my character and family name.”
Previously, the US had revoked the visa of then Minister of Home Affairs, Ronald Gajraj following allegations that he was linked to a death squad and subsequent to this current Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee also encountered visa problems while he held another portfolio. The US had also revoked the serving Commissioner of Police Henry Greene’s diplomatic visa in 2006 before taking back his visitor’s visa in June of the same year after Washington alleged that the then Acting Police Commissioner had benefited materially from the drugs trade. Greene had strenuously denied the allegation.