Retain James and scrutinise Sittlington

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Dear Editor

THE President David Granger-led coalition needs to move swiftly to halt Sittlington’s ambitions to set up a private company in this country. At the same time, they need to scrutinise Sittlington’s connections with a view

to seeing whether an offer for re-employment at SOCU is in the best interest of the unit. Moreover, there needs to be urgent investigation of threats to James and her family’s safety and an offer to retain her services with obligations to provide her with heightened security.

Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan’s interest in retaining the services of the sacked fraud expert, Dr. Sam Sittlington, may be perceived as his unadulterated desire to see the work of SOCU advance under the competent guidance of a trained, experienced professional.

As such, it is incumbent upon him to ensure that Sittlington has no clandestine motivations for registering his own private fraud
company, while undertaking an assignment for the UK Government to offer technical assistance to SOCU.

At the same time that SOCU lost Sittlington, it also lost Sheronie James, Deputy Head of the Unit, who resigned because of a desire to avoid compromising her “commitments to obligations of confidentiality and non-disclosure”, according to her statement. She also revealed that the allegations of her refusing to present her credentials were false, and both Minister Ramjattan and Sidney James, Head of SOCU, had been shown evidence of her professional qualifications from a reputable British university.

James was a high- contributing resource to the investigative work of SOCU, enabling the unit to receive significant mutual assistance cooperation from third countries in its pursuit of financial crimes committed against the people of Guyana and relentlessly pursuing evidence of acts of international cross-

border financial transactions done by former public officials, even in the face of threats to her life.

With the same noble desire to safeguard the work of SOCU, Minister Ramjattan needs to actively investigate who is pressuring James to disclose sensitive information and who is threatening her life and the lives of her family members. He should also offer to retain her services with a Government of Guyana contract as he has expressed the desire to do for Sittlington. Both these individuals possess the expertise that the fledgling Guyanese Anti-corruption unit can ill afford to lose at a time when James claims that “SOCU’s hard work is about to bear fruit”.

Regards

Phyllis J. Jordan