Rohee, Rodrigues and the Rupununi
Just when we thought it was safe to let the children out to play, we woke up to learn that an arsenal of arms and ammunition had been unearthed in the Rupununi Region.
The arsenal which was found at a house in Tabatinga on Monday 1st October 2012 comprised four M-70 automatic rifles; four magazines; 389 rounds 7.62×39 calibre ammunition; six M-16 rifles along with two magazines; 74 matching rounds; two fragmentation hand grenades; one Icon VHF radio set; one Icon hand-held radio set and one roll of camouflage material. No one could think that these weapons had any other purpose than to kill people.
Police subsequently issued a ‘wanted bulletin’ for Ricardo Ignatius Rodrigues called “Fatman” – said to be a close associate of the worst criminal in Guyana’s history – Shaheed ‘Roger’ Khan. That notorious narco-trafficker is now serving a sentence for cocaine trafficking in a United States correctional facility. Rodrigues’s cousin, Clive Lloyd King, called “Bora,” was also sought in connection with the crime.
The discovery of this cache of illegal weapons in the Rupununi should not come as a surprise to anyone except, perhaps, Clement Rohee. Everyone else knows that Guyana is vulnerable to the trans-national crime of gun-running.
Many of the guns used by crooks to commit armed robberies in Guyana are of Brazilian manufacture. Everyone else knows that many of those guns were brought into the country illegally. Everyone else knows, also, that Guyana is vulnerable to the trans-national crime of drug-trafficking.
Clement Rohee, however, has been stonily silent over the past fortnight about the clear indications of the crimes of gun-running and drug-trafficking.
Rohee must know that the Rupununi Region is a zone of proven vulnerability. He must know that Guyana’s 1,100 km border with Brazil has remained as porous as ever under the careless watch of his Ministry of Home Affairs. The Rupununi – the country’s largest administrative region – is vast, comprising about 58, 000 km² or approximately 27 per cent of this country’s territory.
Rohee, however, simply does not have a functioning security plan for the hinterland in general and the Rupununi Region, in particular. He seems blissfully oblivious to consequences of his misunderstanding and mishandling of border security. He seems unable, also, to craft a comprehensive strategy to ensure the security of the Guyana-Brazil border and to protect our territory.
The border is not only an open gateway for aliens to come and go as they please through informal border crossings and to avoid contact with law-enforcement and revenue authorities. It is now clear that it is also a thoroughfare for gun-running on an industrial scale.
The return to prominence of the colourful Ricardo Ignatius Rodrigues is not necessarily good news for Guyana. The importation and accumulation of a large arsenal of arms and ammunition the only use for which is to kill humans – is bad for Guyana.
Retaining Clement Rohee as Minister of Home Affairs is bad for Guyana. He seems disinclined, even after two weeks, to issue a statement on this serious breach of national security that has occurred in the Rupununi.