POLICE INVESTIGATION INTO KHAN ANOTHER PLANNED “GAJRAJ SCENARIO” DECEPTION -- PRESS STATEMENT Thursday 22 October 2009




SUMMARY:
• The PNCR rejects the recent announcement by the police of an investigation into Roger Khan as clearly another attempt to deceive the people of Guyana and to shift the focus of the demand by opposition parties for an international inquiry;
• The PNCR Parliamentarians will boycott today’s sitting of the National Assembly in pursuance of its previously announced strategy of selective participation/boycott to enforce its demands for an International Inquiry;
• Guyanese need to be watchful to prevent the attempted manipulation of the Election’s Commission to facilitate the PPP gerrymandering of the Local Government constituency boundaries before the Local Government Elections;
• The seventeen (17) years of the PPP/C Administration have also been characterized by incompetence, corruption, lack of performance and deterioration in the water sector, thus imposing further hardships on Guyanese in the supply of potable water.

POLICE INVESTIGATION INTO KHAN ANOTHER PLANNED “GAJRAJ SCENARIO” DECEPTION

Faced with the embarrassment that a foreign Court secured convictions against ‘Roger’ Khan for less serious offences than the murders he is alleged to have committed in Guyana, the Police finally announced the appointment of a special investigative team, to “enquire into the alleged murders which surfaced during the court hearing for drug dealer Shaheed ‘Roger’ Khan”. The PNCR is not impressed, however, by this latest maneouvre and is convinced that this is yet another attempt by the Jagdeo Administration to deceive the world that it is taking some action against the atrocities committed in Guyana.

Most Guyanese would be reminded of the “Gajraj Inquiry” into the then Minister’s involvement with the deadly “phantom squad”. The regime, faced with public demonstrations by the PNCR and others, revelations by George Bacchus, and the publication of telephone links between Axel Williams and Gajraj, sought to create the impression that they were finally about to investigate. A Commission of Inquiry was announced. Shortly thereafter, the terms of reference was limited to ensure that the Commission was restricted from traversing the real issue of criminal activity, which the Opposition Parties had been demanding. Eventually, Minister Ronald Gajraj was promoted as Guyana’s High Commissioner to India. It is evident, therefore, from all that has transpired over the past six years that this recent initiative is another Gajraj type scenario.

The Guyana Police Force (GPF) belated call for individuals, organisations or groups to provide evidence is another attempt to fool the public that the police are not in possession of any evidence. This is a serious indictment on the GPF after more than two hundred gangland style executions were committed in this jurisdiction. The public is aware that sworn affidavits and taped interviews of potential witnesses were presented to the Police by the PNCR several years ago, which could have facilitated an investigation. What have the police done with this information?

How can the police be relied upon to conduct an investigation when, self confessed drug lord, ‘Roger’ Khan, has placed a full page advertisement in the daily newspapers claiming that he has been working in close collaboration with the security forces in carrying out his activities in Guyana. To date there has been no disclaimer from the police. Additionally, Guyanese would recall that when Khan and seven others were arrested in 2002 with arms, ammunition and the infamous “spy computer” at Good Hope, East Coast Demerara, a serving member of the GPF was among them. The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) ranks that effected the arrest had taken possession of the computer and the GDF Intelligence Corps had commenced investigations. No sooner had they embarked upon this project, the entire GDF Intelligence Corps was disbanded and Khan was permitted to continue his activities in Guyana as an untouchable. Over the past months, as more evidence of these matters were publicized during the Robert Simels’ trial, the police then claimed that they could not obtain information from the US Courts. Yet, prominent journalists were able to access that information and the entire transcript is available to some persons and organizations, including the PNCR, in Guyana. No one aware of these facts, therefore, could take the announcement by the police seriously.

How do the police expect potential witnesses to come forward when the record shows that all those who came forward before were executed or suspiciously killed? The PNCR had called for the establishment of a witness protection scheme several years ago to guarantee the safety of those who were willing to come forward, but the Jagdeo regime refused to act. The announcement by the police, in the absence of assurances of protection, is not intended to encourage anyone to come forward. The Minister of Home Affairs recently publicized that he is in possession of telephone records of conversations with the masterminds of the Health Ministry’s fire. They were also in possession of telephone records involving Ronald Gajraj and, more recently, Kwame McKoy. Is none available on ‘Roger’ Khan and political functionaries?

It should also be noted that the PPP had rejected any discussion of this issue in the National Assembly when the Leader of the PNCR and Opposition, Mr. Robert Corbin, sought to have the Parliament adjourned on a matter of urgent public importance. Mr. Corbin has since submitted a substantive Motion to the Parliament for the National Assembly to support an international inquiry. (The original Motion is attached for public information). The people of Guyana would soon be able to determine the sincerity of the Jagdeo regime.

The PNCR, therefore, rejects this recent announcement by the police as clearly another attempt to deceive the people of Guyana and to shift the focus of the demand by Opposition Parties for an international inquiry. That inquiry must not be about ‘Roger’ Khan alone, but on the criminal activities in Guyana in which both the police and the Government were obviously involved. The police cannot be trusted exclusively with such an investigation. Consequently, the PNCR will continue to agitate for a wider inquiry by an international body. In the meantime, the police must inform the Nation of their witness protection plan, which would at least illustrate their willingness to obtain information that could facilitate such an inquiry.

SELECTIVE PARTICIPATION/BOYCOTT OF THE PARLIAMENT

Since the PPP/C’s rejection of the PNCR’s attempt to discuss the ‘Roger’ Khan affair, the PNCR walked out of the National Assembly and announced a policy of selected participation/boycott until the Government positively responded to the call of the Joint Opposition Political Parties (JOPP) for an international inquiry into the criminal activities in Guyana including, but not limited to the matters revealed in the trials of ‘Roger’ Khan and his Lawyer, Robert Simels.

On the last occasion that the National Assembly met the PNCR considered it necessary to attend to expose the PPP/C Government’s attempt to dispose of the people of Guyana 20% share holding in the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph (GT&T) Company by an undisclosed procedure and the response to queries made by the PNCR about the state of the East Bank Berbice road. The Government, as predictable, arrogantly refused to provide adequate answers about the reasons for that sale. It was evident during that debate that the Government was being vindictive to that Company and was pursuing a blind vendetta against its operations. It was also quite evident that the Government was attempting to raise funds to lay a fiber optic cable across Guyana to become a competitor with the private sector in the provision of telecommunications services. Despite its claims of promoting the private sector, the Government’s actions are clearly designed to undermine private sector development in Guyana and to continue political dominance over their activities.

Three matters are listed on the Order paper for today’s sitting of the National Assembly. The first deals with the rice sector and Government’s attempt to set time limits for the payment of rice farmers by rice millers. The PNCR obviously supports the prompt payment of rice farmers. The Bill before the House, however, is another manifestation of the PPP/C incompetent management of the rice sector. Several years ago, the PPP propagandized that they had addressed all the issues affecting rice farmers when the well publicized cases of non-payment forced rice farmers to take protest action against the Government and delinquent rice millers. The Minister of Agriculture rushed to Parliament with a Law, which the Government boasted, would solve this problem permanently. The fact of there being need to return to Parliament with another Bill is clear evidence of their incompetence. The problems of the rice industry, however, cannot be solved by legislation. In the absence of a coherent policy with incentives and support for both millers and farmers, the problems of the rice sector will be a continuous one.

Another Bill before the National Assembly is intended to make a minor amendment to the Fugitive Offenders Act as it relates to conditions for extradition. The timing of this Bill is significant since all Guyana knows of the biased approach of the PPP/C Government to issues of extradition of alleged drug offenders. No one can forget the initial attempts by the Jagdeo regime to protest the arrest of ‘Roger’ Khan by US DEA personnel in Trinidad and Tobago and his subsequent imprisonment in New York. The difficulties already facing the extradition process has been publicized recently with the failure of the US to secure the extradition of two wanted offenders on drug charges. Yet the amendment that the Government is attempting is likely to further complicate rather than simplify the process. Apart from being self-contradictory, the Bill is unlikely to improve the system of bringing fugitive offenders to justice. The PPP/C is again attempting to create the false impression that it is active in the field of drug trafficking control. The PNCR refuses to participate in such deceptions and sees no reason why it should participate in the charade. The PNCR Parliamentarians will, therefore, boycott today’s sitting in pursuance of its previous announced strategy to enforce its demands for an International Inquiry.

PPP ATTEMPTING TO MANIPULATE THE CONSTITUENCY BOUNDARIES BEFORE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS

Clear evidence is emerging of the PPP’s attempt to manipulate the boundaries of constituencies in the various Local Government areas to secure an advantage in the forthcoming Local Government Elections. The reform of the Local Government system will be characterized by a change of the electoral system to one that combines direct constituency representation with proportional representation. This change requires each Local Government area, i.e., the sixty-five Neighbourhood Democratic Councils, NDC, and the six Towns, to be divided into constituencies’ equivalent to half of the number of councilors that will constitute the Council. The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), to ensure that this process was undertaken in a scientific way and free from partisan political influence, commenced a well-publicized process of consultation with the communities involved. These consultations included representatives of the existing Councils, community groups, and representatives of the various political parties and members of the community. During these consultations, several recommendations, which had the support of the public, were made and it was expected that those recommendations would have guided any decision on the number of constituencies for each local government area and their respective boundaries.

Most of the consultations were completed, but, before GECOM could formally deliberate on these matters, the Minister of Local Government issued an Order declaring the number of councilors for each local government area. This Order has serious implications for the implementation of the recommendations and is clearly designed to frustrate all the consultations undertaken by GECOM with the involvement of all stakeholders. The PNCR has been able to determine that the boundaries in at least eighteen Local Government areas are likely to be affected by the political Order issued by the Minister. The PNCR is continuing its investigations into this matter. The PNCR is also in receipt of reliable information that the General Secretary of the PPP, Mr. Donald Ramotar, in a follow-up to the Order wrote a letter to the Chairman of GECOM, warning that due note must be taken of the Minister’s direction.

The PNCR had warned Guyanese of this sinister plan by the regime when the Government unilaterally terminated the work of the Local Government Task Force. This draft legislation had placed power to determine the number of constituencies and the boundaries in the hands of the Minister of Local Government. The PNCR and other stakeholders had vigorously opposed this draft provision in the proposed legislation. The prevailing view was that this power should be vested in the Elections Commission. It was at the time of this disagreement that the PPP resorted to the Parliament to conclude consideration of the Legislation. This provision was again opposed at the select Committee by the PNCR, but the Government unilaterally rushed the passage of this Bill through Parliament.

The PPP/C must know that it is traveling on dangerous and controversial grounds, which could make a mockery of the entire Local Government reform. We urge GECOM to be resolute on this matter equally as we warn the PPP/C administration that the PNCR will not be idle if they pursue this reckless and provocative course of action. The PNCR alerts all Guyanese to be watchful to prevent the attempted manipulation of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to facilitate the PPP/C gerrymandering of the Local Government constituency boundaries before the Local Government Elections.

17 YEARS OF INCOMPETENCE AND CORRUPTION IN THE WATER SECTOR IMOSING HARSHIPS ON GUYANESE

In this celebrated month of October during which the PPP/C has been embarrassed into toning down their claims of a return to democracy, the PNCR has been highlighting various aspects of their poor governance and miserable performance. Today the PNCR highlights that the seventeen (17) years of the PPP/C Administration have also been characterized by incompetence, corruption, lack of performance and deterioration in the water sector, thus imposing further hardships on Guyanese in the supply of potable water.

In 1992, the PPP/C inherited a master plan, which catered for the rehabilitation and adequate delivery of potable water supply to the country. They promised to accelerate and implement these plans in their election manifesto. 17 years later Guyanese turning on their water taps at home best illustrate the hollowness of their promises.

WATER DELIVERY SACRIFICED
In their haste to re-engineer the population for political mileage, the PPP/C embarked on the distribution of house lots without any consideration for infrastructure development. Shoddy tracks passed for roads while electricity supply and other services such as water supply were ignored. As daily complaints were aired by residents throughout the towns, but especially by those on the East Coast and East Bank, miles of pipelines were laid without water supply. Citizens continue to experience severe hardships with many having to walk for miles to get a bucket of water or pay exorbitant sums to purchase the commodity. The conditions under which people lived became secondary to the PPP/C political agenda as they propagandized the thousands of house lots distributed.

ANOTHER WHITE ELEPHANT
Instead of 24 hours delivery the city residents are lucky to receive three (3) hours of water per day. The white elephant at Guyhoc/West Ruimveldt is still to be filled with water to adequately supply residents in that area. The existing well cannot provide adequate water for the number of residents as they had projected. This reflects poor planning and is typical to the situation in other areas such as Linden, Bartica, Bare Root, Paradise and other villages throughout Guyana. For example, because of failure to make adjustments for the expansion of that Community, the pump station cannot supply the new areas like three miles. There is the obvious need for bigger pumps. Do they need another 17 years to address this pressing need?

GWI BIGGEST PROBLEM
Guyanese are well aware of the problems with Severn Trent and the termination of their contract by the Government. The Administration then boasted that the Guyana Water Inc. (GWI), as the new entity, would solve all water problems following the termination of that contract. They quickly replaced qualified engineers with political hacks and the nation suffered as the administration played games with their “blue-eyed kid Galahad” Karran Singh. After that drama ended that entity is still at a loss to address their biggest problems: adequate delivery of water to consumers and arresting water loss. Meanwhile, they continue to pass on the cost of wastage to the customers by inflated estimated bills rather than accurate bills, which reflect the correct amount of water used. Consumers, therefore, are paying for their inefficiency.

The 2008-2009 IDB report had highlighted a grossly understaffed entity. Consequently, Guyanese cannot expect any improvement unless the deficiencies are seriously addressed. These include prevention of water wastage due to defective pipes, poor rate of leak detection and an inability to prevent water contamination. There is no developed system to close off small segments at a time to effect urgent repairs, thus preventing the high loss of water and the added risk of contamination.

MUDDY WATER
GWI's mandate is to supply clean and potable water according to WHO standards, yet they have continually failed to do so. Instead, flowing through our taps, when water does come, is mainly brown, sometimes muddy water, loaded with small creatures. It is no surprise that recent reports from hospitals point to persons increasingly being affected with gastroenteritis and other water borne diseases. GWI appears to lack the competent personnel to deal with the iron content in the water or the knowledge to mix the chlorine, alum and other inputs in the correct ratio. They continue to err in the processing of water 17 years after blundering from one political functionary to another. Maybe the CEO who advised the use of trench water to wash cars would be happy to extend this level of backwardness to housewives for cooking purposes.

WHY NO WATER PRESSURE AFTER 17 YEARS?
Water delivery to the first floor is mandated in Chapter 28.01 of the Municipal and District Councilors Act. Low water pressure should never be a feature of city life after 17 years of managing the entity. The management now hides their failure by laying the blame on the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Company.

The society expects GWI to afford our young people the opportunity to have a bath with water flowing through their taps. It is time for any responsible management to revisit their reliance on GPL since 70% of GWI's income goes to GPL. The PNCR advises GWI to consider self-generation as several other commercial entities have done, until GPL becomes reliable.

COST TO CUSTOMERS
Customers are tired of incurring the great cost of constructing trestles, overhead tanks and of buying and servicing water pumps, all of which contribute to higher electricity bills and greater sacrifices to access this precious commodity. How much more pressure can Guyanese bear?

END CORRUPTION
Billions of ratepayers and donor agencies funds are fraudulently diverted to the pockets of relatives, cronies and corrupt contractors, through the process of closed bids. Open and transparent bids must become the standard by which all contracts are awarded as advised by the auditor general's 2008-2009 report. Contractors must be held accountable for deviations from specifications. Clerk of works must not allow 1/2" pipes to be billed while 1/4" pipes are used instead. These and other corrupt practices must end in keeping with the AG's report.

When people no longer need to buy water from the many water depots which have mushroomed all over the country from Berbice to Essequibo; when children at school can once again safely drink from the taps; when water is delivered 24 hours a day to our people, then our society will begin to live the dream promised by the PNCR of a quality life free from the fear of illness. Water is life.

FIRE HYDRANTS
The PNCR conveys its sympathy to the many businesspersons and other citizens who have suffered terribly due to loss and damage to property by fire. The Party rejects the alleged hot weather as a reason for these types of fires. Electrical faults and aged power lines are among the major causes for these fires. Many of these fires could have been contained to one building; instead, millions go up in flames owing to lack of water, poor planning and deliberate disregard for the building codes of the city. In the past Georgetown had working fire hydrants; schools had buckets of sand and water. What has happened since 1992? 17 years of disinterest followed the lack of maintenance of these hydrants have placed additional burdens on the fire service.

Too often, the tenders cannot access any water when they arrive on the scene. The time has come for a new approach. Call in our hydro engineers to design a new water provision system to fight fires. We suggest the installation of a grid system of underground pipes crisscrossing the city, all sourcing water directly from the Demerara River, aided by the placing of booster station and hydrants at strategic points in the city. This will enable water to be available 24 hours at any point in the city. Tenders can be stationed further apart and the city will save thousands of liters of treated water.

Can we expect new thinking from this type of administration?

People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Georgetown, Guyana
Thursday 22 October 2009



MOTION FOR AN INTERNATIONAL INQUIRY
Submitted by: Mr. Robert H O Corbin, MPLeader of the Opposition
Seconded by: Mr. Basil Williams, MP

MOTION
WHEREAS on Tuesday July 28 and on Wednesday July 29, in a New York Court, Selwyn Vaughn, a witness under protection of the US Government, gave sworn testimony which provided essential information about, the assassination of prominent journalist and activist, Mr. Ronald Waddle; the murder of over two hundred Guyanese youth by a phantom squad, headed by Roger Khan with the support of the Guyana Government; the complicity of the Guyana Government and named Officials, including the incumbent Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy;
AND WHEREAS this testimony stated, inter alia, that the Government of Guyana through its Minister Leslie Ramsammy authorized the purchase of a “spy computer” by self confessed drug lord, Roger Khan, which had the capacity to intercept telephone calls and, by a process of triangulation, identify the location of the callers;
AND WHEREAS the said evidence impugns the integrity of the Government of Guyana, infers breaches of the Guyana Constitution and the functioning of institutions of the State that are bound by the provisions of the Guyana Constitution;
AND WHEREAS since 1993, Guyana witnessed numerous gangland style murders where more than four hundred persons were executed in strange circumstances by an alleged phantom squad, managed by self confessed drug lord Roger Khan, under the alleged control and direction of a PPP Government Minister of Home Affairs;

AND WHEREAS in December 2002, Roger Khan and seven other persons, including a serving member of the Guyana Police Force, Sean Benfield, were arrested at Good Hope with arms and ammunition and a high-tech computer, capable of intercepting telephone calls;

AND WHEREAS by the end of 2003, the nation recorded the staggering and unacceptable fact of 205 murders with less than 15% of them solved with all pointing to the denigration and disappearance of the sacred doctrine of the rule of law;
AND WHEREAS by January 2008, the high-level involvement of senior functionaries in crime, the drug trade and murder for hire were well publicised in the media in Guyana;
AND WHEREAS among those executed were a Government Minister, Mr. Sash Sawh and the former Head of the Customs Anti Narcotics Unit, CANU, Mr. Vibert Inniss and there was no publicized investigation by either the Security Forces or the Government in the death of the latter;
AND WHEREAS, in 2004, the PNCR provided further information, including sworn Affidavits and video tape recordings from potential witnesses, on Mr. Shaheed Khan, AKA Roger Khan and “The Contractor”, which could have assisted the Police in commencing an investigation, but both the Guyana Police Force and the Government refused to act;
AND WHEREAS despite these developments, Mr. Roger Khan was permitted to function as an untouchable in Guyana while obtaining special facilities from the Government which, until after his arrest by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency, claimed that he was an honest businessman;
AND WHEREAS the Government of Guyana has shown a continued refusal over several years to undertake inquiries into these serious matters affecting the stability of the state, despite frequent call by the PNCR and other organisations in Guyana;
AND WHEREAS the Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force and the Commissioner of Police appear to be mindful of their oath of office and the discharge their statutory and constitutional responsibility in matters which had grave implications for the rule of law, the safety of citizens and national security;

AND WHEREAS the Guyana Police Force (GPF), because of their alleged complicity, could not be entrusted with the sole responsibility of conducting a thorough investigation into these matters;
AND WHEREAS despite these issues have been in the public domain for several years, the sworn testimony and depositions from the trials of Roger Khan and Robert Simels provide the first available evidence albeit in a Court of Law in the USA;
AND WHEREAS in the past two years there have been several allegations of torture of citizens by members of the Guyana Defence Force and the Guyana Police Force with no serious investigation undertaken by the Government, notwithstanding these allegations have been supported by various reports by the Guyana Human Rights Association and statements by victims;
BE IT RESOLVED that the National Assembly supports the demand by the Joint Opposition Parties [Alliance For Change (AFC); Guyana Action Party (GAP); National Front Alliance (NFA); Peoples National Congress/Reform (PNCR) and the Working People’s Alliance (WPA)] for an International Inquiry into matters involving grave human rights violations including, but not confined to extra-judicial killings of hundreds of mainly young male adult Guyanese, allegedly by a cabal consisting of Government officials in the executive, security and intelligence branches of the state, political bosses of the ruling party (Peoples Progressive Party/Civic – PPP/C), working in consort with their allies in organized crime; and, torture, degrading and inhuman treatment conducted against Guyanese citizens by arms of the country’s Security Forces (Guyana Defence Force – GDF, Guyana Police Force – GPF and the Guyana Prison Service).
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this National Assembly support the appointment of an International Inquiry to investigate the serious allegations that have been made about the state’s involvement in extrajudicial killings, torture and other human rights violations and related matters with terms of reference to be drafted by a special select Committee of the National Assembly.
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MOVED BY:
Robert H. O. Corbin, MP

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SECONDED BY:
Basil Williams