… “Luncheon, Rohee, Best, and Greene — are the Four Horsemen of Inertia.”
US Embassy officials were highly critical of President Jagdeo’s position on the role of Guyana as a soldier in the anti-narcotics war.
This statement came in a leaked embassy cable that questioned the President’s commitment to dealing with the narcotics scene.
The cable said, “In President Jagdeo’s world, Guyana has met the full measure of external expectations regarding its commitment to fighting drug trafficking and other crimes, and demonstrated its competence and diligence as a partner in these areas. This could hardly be further from the truth. The individuals he identified to work with on this “framework” — Luncheon, Rohee, Best, and Greene — are the Four Horsemen of Inertia. All have been in their positions for at least 18 months, and none have shown a proclivity for meaningful actions that would truly address Guyana’s numerous law enforcement shortcomings.”
This cable came after reluctant internal agreement by the embassy officials to cooperate with Greene as Commissioner of Police. The embassy was in direct opposition to Greene being appointed Police Commissioner, claiming that he was linked with the drug trade. They expressed same to Jagdeo and even went so far as to revoke Green’s visa but to no avail. Jagdeo proceeded with his decision. As a result the embassy was forced to admit that there was no choice but to cooperate with the commissioner.
Jagdeo had at the time been vociferously criticizing the US Government and its “condescending lectures” on fighting drug trafficking and other issues through its annual reports. According to the cable “an entirely unrepentant President Jagdeo asserted to the Ambassador … that the tone of these reports should change in the future if the U.S. expected countries to cooperate on such issues.”
Jagdeo then told the Political Officer that “he had been asking the U.S. “for years” for greater counternarcotics collaboration, including the opening of a DEA office in Guyana, but had been “met with silence.”” He claimed that he had “an interest in developing a framework for law enforcement cooperation — which would involve enhanced investigations and prosecutions of drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, money laundering, and extraditions to the U.S.”
Jagdeo then goes on to tell the Embassy officials that he would be writing to President Obama regarding what he called “the State Department’s “unfair and biased” annual reporting on drugs, human rights, and trafficking in persons.”
Jagdeo upbraided the US for their lack of assistance saying “I am interested in serious collaboration where there is real assistance, real commitment, and resources to match what we say.”
The Ambassador then said to Jagdeo “How can we put things back together again?” Jagdeo responded by saying it had to start with “changing the tone of these unfair, biased reports from the State Department,” particularly the INCSR.
He argued that the State Department was by and large ignoring positive steps that the Administration had taken. To support his argument he pointed to the sacking of nine Customs and Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) officers after they failed polygraph tests as well as the passage of laws that enabled wire tapping and plea bargaining which he claimed were not highlighted in the report. Assertions that the cable laid to immediate rest by explaining exactly how often and where all of these advancements were mentioned in the corresponding reports.
Still willing to help, the Ambassador inquired what exactly the President sought regarding law enforcement collaboration; Jagdeo replied that he was interested in a “framework by which we can define our exact cooperation. How are we going to collaborate, in broad terms? That is what we must establish.”
Taking care to delineate the difference between broader policy issues and the operational details of actual investigations, Jagdeo claimed he was only interested in the former: he wanted to clarify the framework, and then let the actual enforcement work happen.
In response to the Ambassador’s inquiry about who would be the principal point of contacts for the Government of Guyana on such discussions, Jagdeo identified four officals: Cabinet and Defence Board Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon; Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee; Guyana Defence Force Chief of Staff Gary Best; and Guyana Police Force Commissioner Henry Greene.
He affirmed: “These are the people I trust on this issue.”
But the cable said of these men “Luncheon, Rohee, Best, and Greene — are the Four Horsemen of Inertia.” Going further to say that “none have shown a proclivity for meaningful actions”
The Embassy Official raised the question of the Government of Guyana’s own counternarcotics commitment after a debacle the previous weekend regarding a U.S. invitation for CANU Director James Singh to attend the regional Drug Commanders Conference in St. Kitts, with all expenses covered.
The cable noted by way of explanation that after belatedly accepting the invite, Minister Rohee rescinded permission for Mr. Singh to travel the very next day, with no explanation. When the Official asked what message the President thought this action sent in the context of his pleas for assistance and collaboration President Jagdeo apparently evaded the question.
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