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.
NOVEMBER 16, 2011 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER NEWS
A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) continued its countrywide campaign with a number of meetings in Berbice. One such meeting was held at the Junction of NO 41 Scheme in Stanleytown, New Amsterdam where a few hundred persons were in attendance. The feature speaker was APNU Executive Member and Leader of the Opposition Robert Corbin.
Corbin lashed out at the ruling Peoples’ Progressive Party/Civic for its incompetence and its lackadaisical performance which has destroyed Guyana.
He stated that the PPP is a party of deception, and conmen, who have been deceiving the Guyanese people for the last 19 years. He noted that Bharrat Jagdeo is the “chief deceiver and the chief trickster and con man.” Holding up a copy of the Sunday 13th November Kaieteur News, Corbin showed residents the photograph on the front page where Jagdeo “fooled the world that he was married to Vashnie Jagdeo. Conning everybody that he was married, what a shame. How can a President behave so low and have the gall to say things about people?”
“The PPP is in panic mode at the moment and we must vote them out,” Corbin stated.
Corbin stated that the PPP is in bed with the drug dealers and that this is the catalyst for all the bad things that are happening in Guyana at the moment.
He reminded residents about of the notorious Roger Khan, who stated that he worked with the Guyana government to fight crime. He mentioned a story told to him by a businessman who had closed his business and fled Guyana. According to Corbin, the businessman revealed that he had gone to see the President at Office of the President and Roger Khan was leaving at the same time. “He immediately became afraid, packed up and closed his business and left the country.”
Corbin reminded residents of the massacres that took place at Lusignan, Agricola, Bartica and Lindo Creek under President Jagdeo’s watch, for which no inquiry was ever held.
According to Corbin, newly converted Alliance For Change member Moses Nagamootoo was with the PPP for a long time “and if he could talk about the PPP banditry, corruption and thievery then you must believe him.”
Corbin said that when APNU had mentioned that the PPP was like Ali Baba and the 40 thieves, “They wanted to sue. But we were waiting for them. Now Nagamootoo who been with them say the ‘Robb Street’ gang make Ali Baba and is crew look like small boys.”
Corbin told the Berbicans that a vote for an APNU government is a vote for clean, lean and decent people to lead this country for the next five years.
“The Robb Street gang of thieves, yes men, soup drinkers and bandits are abusing power, and using their majority to bulldoze the Guyanese people. They must be stopped, and come November 28, the nation has that opportunity by voting for a clean APNU Government.”
“You must reject these sycophants, who are outdated and dealing in corruption, drug trafficking, threatening national security, the heart of discrimination, and simply put, dealing in bad governance.”
The PNCR Leader said that an APNU government will reduce VAT, ensure economic and infrastructural development, job-creation and investments in health, education and housing.
He went on to outline the qualifications of APNU Presidential Candidate and leader Brigadier David Granger and Prime Ministerial candidate Dr. Rupert Roopnarine who are by far the two most qualified and experienced campaigners who he said will lead Guyana with dignity.
OCTOBER 20, 2011 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER LETTERS
The PPP/C continues to boast about the large crowds they are attracting at their rallies all over Guyana. What they are in fact doing is recycling crowds at these events. It is the same set of people all the time with a few additions trucked or bussed into areas where rallies are being held. Guyanese are not fools, they are fully aware of this kind of politics. The PPP/C has a mobile and easily transportable crowd of supporters.
Another thing, they are presumptuously using state resources to propagate their message. This is cheap politics that has no place in democratic societies. State resources belong to the people not the government and therefore political parties have no business using it for partisan political activities. GuySuCo is an ailing company, workers are underpaid, yet its vehicles and fuel are used to make the PPP/C look good at their rallies. Also, other vehicles belonging to other ministries are being used to transport people – supporters and sympathizers to these rallies. What a shame.
Then they are using public servants on their political platform. This is in breach of the public service rules. How can public servants be politicians, speaking at public rallies on behalf of a particular party and still carry out their Ministries’ tasks in a professional manner. It is not only illegal but affects the behaviour of all other employees who may not be inclined to get involved in party politics. Further, the government is encouraging public servants to flout the rules which were put in place to preserve the integrity of the public service.
Also, the goings-on at these rallies are to say the least very distasteful. Imagine, the president of this country, the presidential candidate and other party supporters wining on stage at their rallies. Serious political meetings, which should be used to inform the public on very important issues like the alleviation of poverty, approaches to tackle corruptions and nacro-trafficking, which continue to embarrass this country, have become entertainment shows with inappropriate actions and antics by senior politicians in this country. These rallies are fast becoming monkey business.
On the face of it, APNU has made the best decision not to get involved in ‘big rallies’ which could never be a true indicator of solid support. It would really be stupid for anyone to think that crowds at rallies equal support or votes. APNU must meet people on the ground in all areas and let the people know the truth about this government.
It seems good to say that APNU should not have to spend too much to score a landslide victory at these elections, because the facts are just public for everyone to see. In spite of the loud promises of the PPP/C, all Guyanese who live here know exactly what happened for nineteen years, the crime, the corruption, executive lawlessness, the phantom squad, the killings in 2002, Roger Khan’s army which took this nation into moral decline, the piracy on the high seas, the unsolved murder cases, discrimination against people, awarding of big contracts to party favourites, and the host of evils and their impact on the populace.
Roger Khan funded Muslim activities, planned to blow up DEA operation
Written by Demerara Waves
Friday, 02 September
Convicted cocaine trafficker, Shaheed ‘ Roger’ Khan, who had allegedly helped build mosques and fund scholarships, had allegedly promised to blow up a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) location and kill the United States Ambassador.
Labeled “Secret,’ the latest Wikileaked diplomatic cable from then American envoy, Roland Bullen likened Khan untoColombia’s one-time drug baron, Pablo Escobar.
Khan was arrested in Suriname in June 2006 and put on a plane to Trinidad where he was snatched by US agents and taken to New York. He was convicted for cocaine trafficking in October 2009 and sentenced to 15 years jail after a plea bargain.
In the February 1, 2006 missive, he detailed Khan’s operations that included arms and trafficking connections with the Colombian rebel group, FARC, with links to Panama and France.
Bullen recalled that Khan had allegedly threatened to kill the Ambassador and the Regional Security Officer when an informant leaked an American plan to set up a DEA counter narcotics operation inGuyana.
“After the leak, Khan threatened to blow up the site of the operation and threatened the lives of Ambassador and the then RSO (Ref D). These threats forced the operation’s abandonment,” said Bullen.
Recounting that Khan enjoyed business ties with now late Farouk Razac of Swiss House Cambio, “a big money laundering operation, to launder his narco-trafficking proceeds,” the cable noted that “Khan’s drug proceeds have also funded mosques and sent Muslims to study abroad.”
The then US Ambassador noted that Khan was operating in Guyana with apparent impunity and tacit approval of the Guyana government (GoG)
“It is believed that GoG is compromised to such an extent that it will not pursue Khan, despite paying lip service to the fight against narco-trafficking.
“Ambassador has spoken with GoG to little avail about Khan’s drug activities and unaccounted wealth. The GoG has adopted a head-in-the-sand approach to Khan and narco-trafficking in general. The GoG asks for hard evidence and pretends not to know how Khan acquires his means,” states the cable.
Bullen alleged that former Home Affairs Minister, Ronald Gajraj had employed a death squad whose principal was Khan to crack down on crime from 2002 to 2004. The cable quoted Gajraj as telling American embassy officials that Khan regularly traveled to Suriname to meet with Desi Bouterse. The two had met at a hotel in Suriname as recently as 2005.
Bullen alluded to what he termed “strong indications that Khan was deeply involved in a December 2005 shipment of weapons to FARC in Columbia.”
The cable disclosed concerns that Khan had been negotiating with former Chairman of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuco), Vic Oditt to purchase a 200 square mile ranch at Pirara in the Southern Rupununiregion. “The ranch has a large airstrip, and Khan is believed to be acting at the behest of Colombian or Panamanian narco-interests.”
He had already bought out Kaow Island, Essequibo River from local entrepreneur and Harry Rambarran in February 2005. Once owned by the now bankrupt Willems
Timber, Kaow Island has a wharf for ocean going vessels, an airstrip, access to Guyana’s bush roads that radiate out from Bartica, and a 136,000-acre timber concession. In September 2005, Rambarran sued Khan for defaulting on a USD 1.1 million
promissory note made in partial payment for the island.
The embassy cable quoted a senior functionary of Office of the President as saying that sophisticated cell phone intercept equipment and high-powered weapons that had been seized by a Guyana Defence Force (GDF) roadblock in December 2002 had been handed back to Khan.
“Our interlocutor said the arrest had been “a mistake” because Khan was “working with the police” when the arrest was made,” states the cable.
Wikileaks – Confirms what most Guyanese knew, the Bharrat Jagdeo PPP/C are a cocaine friendly government
Guyana heading for narco-statehood; govt lukewarm about drug trade– Wikileaks|
Written by Demerara Waves
Saturday, 27 August 2011 13:47
The United States (US) badly wants a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) office in Guyana because the South American country is approaching narco-statehood, already resulting in drug seeping into almost all layers of the society.
“Post requests the formal establishment of a DEA office at Embassy Georgetown. Guyana is well on its way to narco-statehood — a prospect that poses a real threat to U.S. interests,” said then American ambassador, Roland Bullen.
The cable was dispatched on May 24, 2006 to, among others, the US Secretary of State, DEA Headquarters in Washington. “The level of narco-trafficking influence on the political, judicial and economic systems in Guyana creates ripe conditions for the emergence of a narco- state,” the Grenada-born ambassador told his principals as well as counterparts in Trinidad, Suriname and Venezuela.
The American envoy believed that a DEA presence in Guyana would significantly improve the US government’s ability to fight drug trafficking in Guyana.
Bullen noted that while Guyana, with a population of 750,000 people and an official Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of less than US$1 billion does not attract much US government attention, narco-traffickers regarded Guyana where they can “operate with impunity” partly because of its geography, law enforcement corruption and a government that is less than enthusiastic about smashing the drug trade.
“They see a country with porous borders, corrupt and ineffective law enforcement, little or no control over its airspace, vast swaths of uncontrolled land, ready access to the Caribbean, North America, and Europe, and a government that has been lukewarm about clamping down on the drug trade,” Bullen said in his missive.
In an earlier cable dated January 6, 2006, Bullen noted that the two countries have been talking about setting up a DEA office here since 1999 and questioned the Guyana government’s sincerity in wanting one. “The current stumbling block is the GoG’s inability or reluctance to give approval for basic logistical details. Post’s position remains the same — the USG is ready to work with and advise the GoG as soon as the GoG is fully prepared to move forward in its fight against narco-trafficking.”
The Guyana government has, over the years, complained bitterly that countries like the US have been reluctant to provide enough funding and other rescources to combat the narco-trade. Guyana expects support through the one-year old US-Caribbean Basin Secuity Initiative (CBSI) to fight the narcotics trade and money laundering.
In the May 24, 2006 cable , the American envoy described as “an especially disturbing development” was Guyana’s involvement in “drugs for arms; financing for insurgent groups like the FARC throughout the region.
In addition, large-scale Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC) infiltration into Venezuela has led to their playing a significant role in narcotics smuggling activities on the Guyana/Venezuela border, he said.
The US embassy’ primary objective in 2008 of disrupting criminal organisations was, he said, difficult by the lack of a permanent DEA presence in Guyana. The office in Trinidad is fully pre-occupied with the counter-narcotics initiatives in their host nation.
Describing the narco-situation in Guyana as “severe”, he said the DEA could work more effectively to accomplish the critical MPP counter-narcotics objectives and provide more sustained support to local law enforcement agencies in Guyana.
The DEA was expected to establish a vetted counter-narcotics unit in Guyana but the ambassador told the Secretary of State that he was worried that it could become infected by corruption.
“An important challenge facing this unit is the pervasive corruption in the country, which has undermined previous Guyanese counter-narcotics initiatives,” he said, adding that establishing a DEA office will allow close and constant monitoring of the vetted unit to help alleviate this problem.”