President Bharrat Jagdeo says that he feels vindicated for his actions against a retired Guyana Defence Force Officer, Major David Clarke, who is now in the United States facing drug trafficking charges.
The President had refused to promote Major Clarke despite recommendations since he had received reports of his involvement in certain activities.
The President did not specify what the information he received regarding Clarke was, but this newspaper understands that it may have to do with him facilitating the operations of the Buxton/Agricola gang while he was in charge of the army’s operation on the East Coast of Demerara.
According to a transcript of taped conversation between an informant and Robert Simels, who was at the time the lead attorney for drug accused Shaheed ‘Roger’ Khan, Clarke on several occasions used his position as head of the army operations in Buxton to facilitate the escape of the ‘Fine Man’ gang when they were being pursued by the police.
According to the informant, after the gang committed their acts they would flee into the Buxton area, knowing that they would receive safe passage.
The informant revealed that based on information, Clarke who has connections in the village of Agricola, the hometown of the now dead Rondell Rawlins, would delay the security forces until the gang made their way through the backlands to their safe haven on the East Bank of Demerara.
Clarke was arrested by the US authorities on drug trafficking charges in 2006 and is reportedly cooperating with them in the case against Roger Khan.
Apart from refusing to promote Clarke, President Bharrat Jagdeo had ordered his immediate recall from the United States where he was subsequently sent on a military course.
“I had some information about Major Clarke who is now held in the US and the information was not very complimentary. I said to the authorities in the army that I did not think that he was serving our best interest,” President Jagdeo told the media yesterday.
According to the Guyanese leader, as the Commander in Chief, he has the sole authority under the Defence Board Act to approve promotions within the army.
“The recommendations could come but the authority for promotion rests solely with the Commander in Chief,” the President explained.
“I gather that there were several discussions in the various levels in the army that I should promote him but I said no. It came to the Defence Board and I said no, that I’m not going to promote him because I knew he was involved in various things from confidential information,” Jagdeo told the media.
The President said that he was surprised when he subsequently found out that Clarke was sent on an overseas course after missing out on the promotion and immediately ordered his recall.
Jagdeo said that he felt that Clarke was being rewarded for not being promoted in defiance of the Commander in Chief’s position.
“But now I have been vindicated in all of this because subsequently they caught him involved in (illegal) activities and he was sent out of the army and I am sure that there are some of the other people, some retired now, who can’t look me in the face,” the President stated.
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