Government may have an idea as to the identity of the US mastermind who is suspected of spearheaded the recent attacks on the city.
This is according to Cabinet Secretary, Dr Roger Luncheon, who confirmed yesterday that the local authorities have made a definitive connection to the US.
During his weekly press briefing at the Office of the President, the official noted that Guyana is not the only country that may have itself in a situation where external forces may have played a role in criminal activities within a country.
Based on agreements under the Organization of American States (OAS), Guyana can seek the help of the US in providing information based on requests.
According to Luncheon, while government may have some idea who the US link is, the idea is to pursue the matter to the fullest to ensure the investigations are concluded. The official implied that this may even involve the possible extradition, if the investigations reach that far, of the individual.
Key in the probe is the US telephone number which investigators believed was called following the recent Ministry of Health fire and more recently the attacks on the city.
While the telephone number is there, the information linking it with the suspect will have to be provided by the US.
During a press conference last week Thursday, President Bharrat Jagdeo had said that investigators believed that someone in the US masterminded the attacks.
The attacks saw a school and the High Court Registry firebombed, and police stations damaged by gunfire.
Investigators have reportedly made the link using telephone records, and according to President Jagdeo, the telephone number in question had surfaced way back when Guyana was facing the “Buxton situation”.
Expressing concern over the attacks, which also saw a vehicle hijacked on the Soesdyke/Linden Highway by gunmen posing as policemen and which left one man dead, the President warned that the security forces will “go after them with all the vigour and we will get these people.”
According to Jagdeo, the people involved in the attacks are “not ordinary criminals. They operate with high-powered weapons.”
While it is believed that there are also local organizers, investigators have been working on the angle that there is a foreign terrorist mastermind, based in the US.
Explaining, Jagdeo said that after the fire at the Ministry of Health, several people were charged and telephone records indicated that one of the suspects placed calls to the United States before and after the fire. It is believed that the last call was made to report that the fire was lit.
This particular number had cropped up when police were investigating criminal elements in Buxton sometime back.
Jagdeo revealed that two weeks ago he met US officials, and in addition to asking for information on this connection, had also requested information on convicted drug trafficker, Shaheed ‘Roger’ Khan and the infamous spy equipment, among other things.
According to the Head of State, had someone set fire to a federal building in the US and been linked to an individual in Guyana, FBI agents would have been swarming all over the country.
With Guyana cooperating with the US in the fight against terrorism, there is all the more for a need to focus on the symmetrical sharing of information, Jagdeo said.
Questioning why it would take months to get such information from the US, the Head of State said that he had expressed fears to the US officials that a possible attack may happen again.
Over the weekend, the US had said it is helping Guyana track down the suspected mastermind.
US acting Charge d’Affaires in Guyana, Carol Horning, on Saturday acknowledged that this country has requested information.
“The request for information is with the Department of Justice and they are processing it,” she said.
The statement of Horning was carried in an AFP story yesterday under the headline “US is helping Guyana track terror suspect: US official”.
On Monday, the local US Embassy in Georgetown also acknowledged Horning’s statement.
According to the report, Horning explained that the US first has to conduct due diligence and privacy procedures related to phone records.
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