IT is agreed that the findings of an investigation carried out by the Guyana Police Force into the administrative affairs of the Special Organised Crime Unit(SOCU), did unearth very serious occurrences that resulted in the removal of its first head, Assistant Commissioner of Police Sydney James. In fact, one will recall Minister of National Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, describing the findings as ‘disturbing.’
Editor, this was being forthright on the minister’s part, in addition to the government that
initiated the inquiry, as a result of reports of mismanagement. For this, commendations are in order for the government, since it has once again demonstrated its consistency to
commit to openness and transparency in the governance affairs of the nation.
Now, for those whose memories may have become convenient, they are reminded that SOCU was established as a specialised unit to investigate financial transactions of Anti Money Laundering and Financial Terrorism, during the tenure of the PPP/C. But, as we all know, this unit remained largely a paper tiger, rather than becoming a roaring lion, since it was void of the necessary powers to give teeth to its functions; a fact that was not finalised until the coming into office of the APNU+AFC administration. Definitely, it was not difficult to fathom this delay. Not that there were not all the reasons to have activated this vital investigative arm immediately. Of course, there were all the reasons. But, such was not
going to occur with a PPP/C regime in office.
Fast forward to 2015 and onwards, and we all have understood the undeniable reluctance of the PPP/C to support SOCU’s mission, much less its day-to-day functions, of investigating former party administration officials for grand offences arising out of the criminal state. One notes the many pointed attacks and criticisms on the legal structure of this organisation by political figures from the party, and a particular commentator who advocated that the agency be closed down, merely echoing a similar call made by the PPP/C.
Editor, one did not have to go fishing for reasons for these attacks; not only had the agency begun to act on audit reports, but that there have been many persons from the former PPP/C administration involved with charges being laid against them, apart from the fact that there were others, loudest in their criticisms of the agency because of vested interests.
One must now come to the PPP/C’s orchestrated attempts, mounted since 2015 and culminating in the treachery of the no-confidence motion, to oust the government. No doubt, inclusive in this naked plan to grab power, are plans to scuttle the charges already laid and other investigations in progress against PPP/C officials that will possibly lead to similar action taken, by SOCU. This is a particular political albatross that continues to weigh heavily around the neck of the PPP/C; it is also a moral dilemma which as an opposition party it faces, since its presidential candidate currently faces 19 serious fraud charges in the local courts.
Therefore, hearing the threat from Anil Nandlall, the PPP/C’s legal point man and presidential wannabe, that his party, if elected to government, will “restructure a tainted SOCU,’’ must not be surprising. It is a dire necessity and goal of this criminal political outfit, in its attempts to hide its avalanche of crimes that were committed against this nation, during its years in office, and silence attempts to bring them to light.
Firstly, if returned to office, a PPP/C ‘plan at ‘restructuring’ would seek to carry out wholesale staff changes, with the aim of having key personnel it can control, slow the process of investigation, and eventually phasing out, with a no-case-to-answer goal. This will come from a would-be administration who, in its past administration, never investigated/prosecuted a single government official for corruption, despite the mountainous evidence that existed before its eyes in the form of audit reports, etcetera.
Secondly, such a statement irrefutably supports the PPP/C’s sordid record of governance, that it does not believe corrupt persons should be prosecuted, much less that the government should make efforts towards rooting out this cancer that still poses a grave threat to the nation’s viability, and for which efforts it has been praised by the international community.
Thirdly, the PPP/C’s abysmal record stands as a monument to its disgraceful morals on such a matter that formed the pivot of its criminal state. No doubt, that the State Department clearly pointed out that Bharrat Jagdeo was the leader of ‘a Mafia state.’ It could not be clearer than that, what Guyana had become under Bharrat Jagdeo’s criminal regime.
Whatever incidents took place at SOCU, resulting in the removal of its former head, does not take away from the fact of the critical necessity for such an investigative body, and the tremendous grounds that it would have made in tracking down the white collar political criminals and those who helped them to wash their stolen goods. It strikes fears into the minds of the PPP/C and their Anil Nandlalls of this country.