Jagdeo government allegedly facilitated corruption, extra-judicial killings

Dear Editor,

THE character that is Bharrat Jagdeo is a very interesting and most unbelievable actor in the political theatre of Guyana’s politics.
If nothing, he knows how to attract the media’s attention. Despite his constant berating of them, they seem bewitched and obliged to show up at his every beck and call. His most recent call for the setting up of a Facebook page to, as he puts it, “fight corruption”, left me in awe for a split second. This man is… Wow!

The man whose administration epitomised the term corruption, and gave new dimension to its meaning, is nothing short of astonishing. It is the facilitation of unimaginable heights of corruption, the friendships and affiliations with notorious characters under the Jadgeo cabal PPP/C administration that has caused most recently many conversations in the streets, the media and many concerned to express their thoughts and speculations about the likely ramifications, if any, of the impending deportation of Shaheed “Roger” Khan to Guyana. Khan, a convicted Guyanese drug-trafficker and gun-runner who allegedly forged strong ties with FARC, a Columbian guerilla militia. Before that, he resided in the United States prior to fleeing the country in 1992 just before his sentencing for drug trafficking and weapons charges.

Khan, who, to many, was said to change the illegal trade in Guyana and took it to unknown charters due to his connections and links/friendship with key players in the Jadgeo administration. Khan was allegedly responsible for the death of Ronald Waddell. Ronald Waddell was the holder of a law degree from the University of Guyana; a businessman; a fearless outspoken political and social activist who boldly addressed the many human rights abuses and atrocities committed by Jagdeo’s PPP Administration and Party. It is a known fact that the honourable former Minister of Agriculture Mr. Satyadeow Sawh. denied Roger Khan permission to export lumber, and subsequently, the nation was informed that the honourable minister and two of his siblings and his guard were brutally killed in his own home. Their innocent lives, coupled with the lives of hundreds of other innocent men, women and young Guyanese were taken during the period of 2002- 2006; during the period that Khan claimed that he helped the Jadgeo PPP Government to “fight crime”.

In 2006, under mounting public pressure from the main opposition party, and the business and religious communities, international pressure, particularly from the diplomatic community, an arrest warrant was issued for Khan. Khan subsequently fled to neighbouring Suriname, and from there he placed a full- page advertisement in the newspapers stating that he helped the “Government of Guyana to fight crime”. Did the then Government ever deny this claim?

Mr Editor, I put it to you that this is the most disturbing proclamation and advertisement that I have seen in any Guyanese newspaper by someone who was wanted for criminal activities. One has to possess a high degree of confidence that is supported by evidence, I presume, to make such a bold and public statement about a government of the day. Khan was subsequently captured during a drug raid in Suriname in which several hundred kilograms of cocaine were confiscated, and he was taken to Trinidad where he was intercepted by US law enforcement officials and taken back to the United States to be tried for drug trafficking crimes and sentenced.
After Khan’s sentencing, one of Khan’s family members stated, “the government of Guyana (Jagdeo’s PPP Government) should provide a pension to Khan for the “security” that he provided for them.”

Wow! Providing security for PPP officials?
Mr. Ronald Gajraj, a former PPP Home Affairs Minister under the Jadgeo cabal administration allegedly recruited the services of the ‘drug kingpin’, Khan and other drug lords, along with renegade members of the Tactical Services Unit (TSU) to carry out extra-judicial killings of Guyanese citizens from Buxton, Agricola and other parts of Guyana.
Khan soon became untouchable, and the quasi-president of Guyana’s cocaine industry. The thriving drug trafficker who publicly stated that he helped the PPP Administration to fight crime was backed by a paramilitary gang known as the Phantom Squad. Together they murdered, tortured, and intimidated many Guyanese youth.

It is alleged that a former Minister of Health, who is one of the PPP’s arm-chair general and mouthpiece from a foreign land, was one of the conduits for Khan’s interactions with the former PPP Government, as the spy equipment used by Khan to track and trace persons’ locations was allegedly purchased on behalf of the Government of Guyana by that known minister.
Additionally, Dale Moore, Troy Dick, Sean Brown, Andrew Douglas and Mark Fraser, the infamous 2002 Camp Street jail escapees allegedly stayed in a house opposite the home of the late and former Minister of Home Affairs Ronald Gajraj.

In spite of the afore-mentioned undeniable evidence, Jagdeo the now “fighter of corruption” vehemently denied having any involvement with Roger Khan. However, his former PPP Prime Minister, Samuel Hinds made a shockingly truthful opposing statement on February 1, 2018. He said, “A counter-force emerged after Guyana’s security forces failed to nab politically-motivated criminals who had been bent on destabilising the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) administration.” Mr. Samuel Hinds, do you care to explain what “counter-force” you were referring to? Are you admitting that your PPP Government failed to keep Guyanese safe? Are you accusing Roger Khan and the ‘Phantom Squad’ who allegedly provided security and fought crimes as this “counter-force”?

The Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy had described Khan’s Phantom Squad as “a murderous killing machine”. Under the PPP regime, from 2002-2006, hundreds of young men were killed without an arrest warrant, natural justice, a fair trial or any involvement with our judiciary. Guyana was likened unto the Wild West. Domestic terrorism and extra-judicial killings were the new normal.

The then opposition (present government) did everything in its power to expose and document all of the extra-judicial killings and human rights abuses committed by the Jagdeo-led PPP Government. The previous opposition parties (present Government) monitored, protested verbally and represented victims of police brutality and torture free of cost. They wrote several letters of complaint to heads of international bodies such as Mr. Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations. The former Chairman of the CARICOM Heads of Government, Mr Percival J. Patterson, Prime Minister of Jamaica, was also written on January 30, 2004. The United States Department of State was informed, and the Organisation of American States also.

In response to an ANPU/AFC protest and vociferous opposition to the extra-judicial killings by the police, Mr. Clement Rohee, a former PPP Home Affairs Minister, stated, “Guyanese people are more interested in food than torture.” Was his asinine statement a reflection of his nonchalant attitude to the lives lost?

During this period, there was government- sanctioned torture, human rights abuses and suppression of press freedom. Just ask Mark Benschop. He has experienced this in its worst form.
But the righteous is never forsaken.
In conclusion. I wish to address the foolish utterances of Jagdeo’s apologists and acolytes who claimed that the men who were murdered and tortured were criminals. Firstly, Guyana is not the Wild West, irrespective of how the PPP ruled it. Therefore, no one nor the Police, Government nor Opposition can determine that a person is a criminal. The Court of Judicature is the only institution in the land that can determine if a person is a criminal, and the only institution that can hand down sentences. A partial list of known extra-judicial and other killings which occurred between 1993 and 2009 under the PPP Regime can be found on my Facebook page.

As one writer puts it, “How can we forget this period of absolute State–sponsored lawlessness, terrorism and extra-judicial killings that took place under the PPP? I have concluded that the PPP is a Mafia parading as a political party. Fight the corruption in your party Jadgeo. The Granger Administration is the bulwark of liberty and not a shameful link in the chain of despotism. Cleaning the different institutions of all venal and corrupt officials the PPP created is a mammoth task, but we will get there.
Jermaine Figueira
Member of Parliament
Region 10

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