INQUIRY INTO ROGER KHAN’S CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE MUST BE HELD--PRESS STATEMENT Thursday 26 March 2009




SUMMARY:
• The General Council meeting is taking place against the background of a number of important developments, especially as they relate to economic matters;
• The UN Report of the independent expert on minority issues warns that ethnic divisions, entrenched in the society, could easily spiral into violence and has, therefore, recommended that the Jagdeo Administration takes urgent steps towards national reconciliation, by establishing the mechanisms for an open dialogue on inclusive governance;
• The PNCR reiterates its position that an independent and impartial Commission of Inquiry must now be launched into the criminal enterprise headed by Roger Khan which was responsible for the deaths of more than 200 Guyanese;
• The PNCR has noted that Mr. Karran Singh, the CEO of the Guyana Water Inc. (GWI), has been sent on leave, pending an investigation into the mismanagement of the entity and the possibility of corruption there.

PNCR HOLDS IMPORTANT GENERAL COUNCIL

The PNCR would be holding its first General Council Meeting for the year 2009, on Saturday 28th March 2009, at its Congress Place, Sophia headquarters.

The General Council is the highest forum of the Party between Congresses. It is expected that representatives from all of the ten (10) regions will attend.

The main address to the General Council would be given by the Leader of the PNCR, Mr. Robert Corbin, MP. The General Secretary, Mr. Oscar Clarke, would report on the activities of the Party since the last General Council, which was held in December, 2008.

This General Council is taking place against the background of a number of important developments, especially as they relate to economic matters. The economic crisis in the country has deepened. This is manifested in the collapse of CLICO and all its attendant consequences for pensions, investments and unemployment. The viability of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) is now threatened by, among other things, its investment in CLICO.

These and other current political and social issues are expected to engage the attention of the General Council. Of particular importance, are the measures taken, since the last General Council, to strengthen the Party. In this regard, the results of the recent Strategic Leadership Retreat would be analysed and discussed.

REPORT BY THE UN INDEPENDENT EXPERT ON MINORITY ISSUES

The UN Independent Expert on Minority Issues, Ms. Gay McDougall, visited Guyana between 28th July and 1stAugust, 2008. She engaged in widespread consultations with members of the Government, NGO’s, civil society groups, political parties, religious leaders, academics and others working in the field of minority issues and anti-discrimination.

Ms. McDougall also visited several communities, including Buxton, and talked to residents about the problems affecting their lives. She has now submitted her report. The report consists of six (6) sections: (1) Historical Context, (2) Political Participation on Minorities, (3) Non-Discrimination and Equality, (4) Protection against Violence, (5) Identity, Language, Culture and Religion, and (6) Conclusions and Recommendations of the Independent Expert.

Ms. McDougall makes it clear, in her report, that she focused her attention “on the relations between, and comparative situations of Afro-Guyanese and Indo-Guyanese.” The question of the indigenous peoples she considered to fall within the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples.

The report warns that ethnic divisions, entrenched in the society, could easily spiral into violence and has, therefore, recommended that the Jagdeo Administration takes urgent steps towards national reconciliation, by establishing the mechanisms for an open dialogue on inclusive governance. In particular, the independent expert calls for “A new era of political will and strong, visionary leadership is required to realize change and reverse the economic and social stagnation that is evident in a divided Guyana.”

The report notes that, even though steps have been made to address issues of ethnic tensions, criminal activities, and economic under development, more effective action is required to restore confidence in good governance and the rule of law, in order to prevent an inexorable slide into further polarization and violence.

The report also noted that the historical ethnic polarization, among Guyanese of African and Indian descent, has become institutionalized: “This polarization, starkly reflected in the ethnic composition of political parties, is reproduced in state institutions, particularly in the army and the police.” This polarization has led to “two separate and conflicting narratives and perceptions of reality in Guyana.”

With respect to the Afro-Guyanese community, the independent expert noted that it is a matter of serious concern that young Afro-Guyanese and entire communities claimed that they were excluded and discriminated against. In this connection, the independent expert stated that current anti-discrimination legislation and policies are not sufficient to deal with these problems. The Afro-Guyanese believe that an Indian dominated and supported Government puts Indian interest to the fore, especially as regards to resource allocation, Government contracts and employment.

Ms. McDougall’s report, which was submitted to the UN Human Rights Council in February 2009, noted that Guyanese society is permeated by a profound, moral and political fatigue, as a result of ethnic polarization. The independent expert explained that the vast majority of the people she met and consulted felt that ethnically based parties were corrosive forces in the society. She noted that there was criticism of the electoral system and the widespread call for shared governance. Since political parties were ethnically based, the current electoral system created a Government dominated by one ethnic group.

The independent expert said that Guyanese, on the whole, desired a different future of security, prosperity and shared development and acknowledged that all communities must have a stake in the future development of Guyana. Ms. McDougall, therefore, concluded that there was need for reconciliation to take place in a climate of trust. “The challenges that exist, both historic and current, must be confronted collectively.”

For this to happen, the Government and all political parties and religious and cultural and civil society groups representing different communities “should take responsibility to reach out beyond the ethnic divide and to build bridges between communities.”

The PNCR has given this summary of the report of the UN Independent Expert on Minority Issues to acknowledge that the narrative and analysis, presented by Ms. McDougall in her report, is a clear reflection of the views of the people of Guyana in general and the Afro-Guyanese community in particular. The Party has warned, on repeated occasions, that, if the Jagdeo Administration does not govern for all Guyanese, our future would be in jeopardy. We have warned that ethnic polarization could lead to despair and violence. The PNCR has called for shared governance, as a vital political and governance mechanism to contribute towards resolving the problems which are perpetuated by the existing system.

Most of all, the Party has publicly recognised and advocated that all political and social stakeholders must reach across the political divide, if we are to bring healing to this nation.

INQUIRY INTO ROGER KHAN’S CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE MUST BE HELD

The Jagdeo Administration has responsibility for all of the activities within the boundaries of the Republic of Guyana. Yet, its officials would have this nation believe that they know nothing of Roger Khan’s activities. These activities were quite substantial and had the support of the Jagdeo Administration.

Roger Khan was arrested, by the security forces, with specialised spy equipment and arms, including a computer which he could only obtain on the authority of the Administration. On that occasion, Khan and his gang were arrested and brought before the courts. In addition, he was awarded contracts by the Administration and the President himself signed the relevant order for him to acquire land.

Khan himself publicly stated, in a paid advertisement in 2006, that he worked along with the security forces, allegedly, to curb crime and protect the Government. It is not possible for Khan’s activities in Guyana not to be known to the top officials of the PPP Jagdeo Administration, in particular President Jagdeo and Dr. Luncheon, both of whom sit at the very apex of the security system.

The denial of knowledge of Roger Khan is bad enough. What the Jagdeo Administration is actively seeking to avoid is the implications of statements in court documents, during the preliminary trial of Roger Khan. One of those statements, point to the fact that Khan was head of the “phantom gang” which killed over 200 people in Guyana.

Several years ago the PNCR had demanded that there be a Commission of Inquiry into the existence of the “phantom gang”. This was rejected by President Jagdeo. Instead, he appointed a Commission of Inquiry to determine whether the Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Ronald Gajraj, was involved with the “phantom gangs”. Now that the US court documents have proven that Khan was head of such a gang.

The Administration has claimed that the spy computer, which was seized by the security forces, and acknowledged by Dr Luncheon, is still in the possession of the Commissioner of Police. The PNCR, therefore, finds it ludicrous that the President is now urging the Commissioner of Police to launch an immediate investigation into these allegations to determine which citizens or public officials were involved.

The PNCR reiterates its position that an independent and impartial Commission of Inquiry must now be launched into the criminal enterprise headed by Roger Khan which was responsible for the deaths of more than 200 Guyanese.

KARRAN SINGH HAS GONE AGAIN

The PNCR has noted that Mr. Karran Singh, the CEO of the Guyana Water Inc. (GWI), has been sent on leave, pending an investigation into the mismanagement of the entity and the possibility of corruption there. In this circumstance, the Party would like to recall what was stated, in its Press Statement of 20 September 2007:

“More importantly, GWI needs energetic and visionary management to take it out of the morass of problems, which are now confronting that organisation. It must be recalled that, it was under Mr. Karran Singh’s watch that the ICC had to step in, when as CEO of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for World Cup Cricket, Mr. Singh was unable to deliver, after many revised schedules, a world cup ready stadium. Clearly, Mr. Singh’s credentials as an effective and efficient manager are highly questionable. He is not the right man for the job. This is another blatant case of jobs for the boys.”


People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Georgetown, Guyana
Thursday 26 March 2009