Aug 18, 2011 News
-had revoked government officials visas for inaction
– calls for Rohee, Greene to be dismissed
By Dale Andrews
Presidential candidate of the Alliance for Change, Khemraj Ramjattan, has disclosed that the United States State Department has a wealth of information on local cops who are linked to the drug trade.
Speaking at the party’s weekly press conference, Ramjattan who is also a prominent attorney-at-law indicated that this information has been relayed to him at every meeting he has had with members of the State Department over the years.
Ramjattan was responding to questions about the link between senior officials of the Guyana police Force and characters in the local drug circuit, of which reports have been carried by this newspaper following revelations by Assistant Commissioner Steve Merai.
Merai’s revelation is certainly nothing new to the police since, according to Ramjattan, US officials have informed him that they have provided information to the local law enforcement authorities with regard to officers of the Guyana Police Force who have benefitted from the trade in illegal drugs.
However, nothing has been done until recently when Merai made the allegations at a force admin meeting, prompting Police Commissioner Henry Greene to order an investigation.
“We have been speaking to the State Department officials who have indicated to us, on my last trip to the State Department, that they have been giving the information to the Government of Guyana. The Government of Guyana, however, has been telling the people that they have not been getting the information.
“And it is for that reason that the State Department has indicated that the Minister’s visa has been taken away and the Commissioner’s visa has been taken away,” Ramjattan stated.
A recent US State Department report had pointed to massive corruption within the Guyana Police Force and overall government.
“Many police are reportedly paid off by criminal elements and are alleged to work with the criminals by either assisting or protecting them,” the report had stated.
Even the Commissioner of Police had his US visa revoked by the United States for allegedly benefitting from the proceeds of the drug trade.
Kaieteur News understands that over the past years, the United States of America has revoked the visas of no less than 11 government officials for various reasons.
Yesterday, Ramjattan called for the immediate resignation of Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee and the Police Commissioner in light of the recent allegations by Merai which were described as highly credible.
“The concept of ministerial responsibility that we know in a normal democracy demands that his lackluster performance in that ministry, and his absolute failings to ensure that the Police Force do its job to provide service and protection and abide by the law, leaves so much to be desired. He has failed, there’s no doubt about it,” Ramjattan said.
The AFC Co-Leader pointed out that apart from these failings, the jailbreaks and other shortcomings are enough for the minister to relieve himself from the office that he presently holds.
“And if he does not want to resign, which is the moral thing, in accordance with a convention called ministerial responsibility, he ought to be dismissed by the president,” Ramjattan stated emphatically.
He highlighted several cases where in normal democracies leading officials have taken the blame for transgressions that occur under their watch.
According to Ramjattan, government ministers in England and in Canada have resigned for less than what he described as the abhorrent and abominable development in Guyana.
He also called for the resignation of the policemen against whom the allegations have been leveled, as well as the Commissioner of Police.
With respect to an investigation into the allegations, the AFC Presidential Candidate said that a Commission of Inquiry headed by an international team of experts preferably from CARICOM, the US Drug Enforcement Agency or Scotland Yard, should be set to deal with such.
“This is a dangerous development, when policemen…are controlling blocks, in relation to how the cocaine is to be transported and couriered,” Ramjattan said.
He stressed that he had no doubt that the information coming out of Merai’s revelations are credible.
Like Minister Rohee, Ramjattan said that there was strong suspicion all along about the links of police officers to alleged drug dealers. However it was not brought to the fore before now.
“And now that the evidence is coming from an Assistant Commissioner of Police, it substantiates and vindicates all that we have been feeling, as happening in the Guyana Police Force. The fact that some of these policemen do have fancy motor cars vindicates that there is accuracy about what is being alleged here, there is authenticity of what is being alleged,” Ramjattan stated.
The police Criminal Investigations Department and the Office of Professional Responsibility have been mandated to investigate the Merai allegations but the AFC Co-Leader has no confidence in the internal investigative arm of the local law enforcement agency to investigate allegations of such magnitude.
“Those offices are tainted with a bias, in my view. When it (allegations) is so high and so significant a development, that office should not be the place that should be dealing with investigations of policemen on those high ranks. It should require an international quality team,” Ramjattan said.
He added that he will feel confident with the independence of investigators from outside the jurisdiction.
“And also because of their expertise and experience, they can come up with better recommendations than our team of officers in the CID and the OPR,” he added.
According to Ramjattan, when retired Assistant Commissioner Paul Slowe remarked that both the upper and lower echelons of the force are corrupt, this was dismissed as reckless by both Minister Rohee and President Bharrat Jagdeo.
“This is a major, major development which demands inquiry, which demands dismissals, which demands interdictions, which demands resignations right up to the minister,” he said.
His calls are not likely to be taken to the National Assembly, since the AFC’s position is not to return to Parliament during the official recess period.
Additionally, Ramjattan is convinced that the ruling PPP/c which has a majority in the Parliament, will not consider the issues as a matter of urgent public importance.
“They’ve always blocked motions of this nature,” he said.
Ramjattan is also of the view that since the administration appears to be turning a blind eye to the entire situation, they are complicit.
“If you turn a blind eye as a Minister, knowing that the thing is happening under your nose, you are by your omission, responsible and that is what has been happening here.”
Ramjattan also pointed to the fact that the administration appears to be very comfortable with the present commissioner who had reached the age of retirement three years ago.
“It just goes to show that there is absolute loyalty to the Commissioner, they feel safe with him and that is what I am saying here, that Commissioner must also go. He ought to have gone a couple of years ago. You only extend, not because you don’t have bright young policemen, but you feel safe with what you got and what you got had his visa taken away by the American Embassy”.
Ramjattan said that the Americans must know plenty about cocaine dealings at the very highest levels within the mafia in Guyana and they probably know who are connected with it.
“And that is why it has reached the abominable wretched state and there is a stench now and it is stinking to high heavens now,” the AFC co-leader stated.
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