Home / Politics / APNU+AFC’s first move with ‘cherry picked’ CoI is to go after security forces – Jagdeo

APNU+AFC’s first move with ‘cherry picked’ CoI is to go after security forces – Jagdeo

The Terms of Reference (TOR) for the Lindo Creek Commission of Inquiry (CoI) were only made publicly available today – a week after Justice Donald Trotman, the father of AFC leader and Natural Resources Minister, Raphael Trotman, was sworn in as the sole Commissioner.

And Opposition Leader, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, today raised concerns about the fact that the CoI is increasingly becoming tainted as one that is driven by a political motive. He said, “They (Government) proceeded to do their own TOR…they got Trotman’s father to be the only person on the Commission….and they expect people to believe that there is no political motive and that it is fair?”

He added, “This is a farce, a political charade…I am sure that they have already written the outcome.”

On that note he referred to the fact that although the TOR was made publicly available today, it was backdated on the Official Gazette to February 1, 2018, and it was signed by Harmon with the date “July 14, 2016 in the 47th year of the Republic (which is 2017).

He also lamented the fact that while promising a Commission of Inquiry to look into the crime wave, the Coalition Government “cherry picked” Lindo Creek as their first area of focus and are effectively going after the security forces. The Opposition Leader said, “They are ignoring everything else….they are not focusing on the children who were murdered, not Lusignan, not Bartica…they are going after an accusation against security forces…their first move is to go after the security forces.”

After the June 2008 deaths of eight miners – Dax Arokium, Cedric Arokium, Compton Speirs, Horace Drakes, Clifton Wong, Lancelot Lee, Bonny Harry and Nigel Torres – the security forces were accused of the killings by Leonard Arokium, who discovered the burnt remains were discovered on June 21, 2008, at the Lindo Creek mining camp.

However, as recent as January 2017, a state witness, Dwane Williams, who testified in the Bartica Massacre trial, implicated the ‘Fine Man gang’ and made clear that it was responsible for not only the 2008 massacres at Bartica and Lusignan, but also the killings at Lindo Creek – a position that was made clear by the Guyana Police Force (GPF) after its investigations, which included DNA sampling with the assistance of our CARICOM sister-country, Jamaica. ‘Fine Man’ – Rondell Rawlins – was killed in a shootout on August 28, 2008, during an almost seven-hour-long police operation, which started at Timehri.

Jagdeo also took on the repeated allegations that convicted drug dealer, Roger Khan, was linked to the then PPP/C government. However, he made it clear that that as Commander-in-Chief, he had over 6,000 members of the security forces with weapons and equipment, who were backed by the law and capable of dealing with the crime wave. “Why would we need people outside the law?” he questioned.

On that note, he brought the media’s attention to a March 31, 2006 advertisement in the Kaieteur News, in which Roger Khan publicly acknowledges then Commissioner of Police and current Government Minister, Winston Felix, as friend. “How do they explain this.. ….all of these things would have come out in comprehensive inquiry. They don’t want this,” Jagdeo said.

He also trashed reports from the state-owned media that the political Opposition was backing down from appearing before the Lindo Creek CoI, after agreeing to participate.

“We are not backing down. We have much to say…. It is wholly untrue that we have backed down from going to CoI…it is a mischaracterization of what I said….I made it clear that the PPP will participate in any CoI if there are credible commissioners and if we were part of the establishment COI – once we were invited to participate in crafting TORs to ensure it is balanced and objective…none of this has happened,” Jagdeo said.

He added that if there was a “real” CoI – a comprehensive review of the crime wave – several persons in the Coalition government, including Government Ministers, would be “really” uncomfortable.


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