Jan 18, 2016 News
The Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) has called the Government out on adopting an “end justifies the means” attitude in their pursuit of justice, referencing the National Industrial and Commercial Investment Limited (NICIL) probe, which is linked to the December 30th Carifesta smashup that claimed the lives of three.
Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Sergeant Robert Pyle, his wife, Stacy Pyle, a nurse, and truck driver Linden Eastman perished in the crash.
It has since been reported that Pyle was carrying out a “special operation” on behalf of the Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU).
Describing the operation as shocking, the Association, which is headed by Mike McCormack, stated that there is a perception that Government is acting as though “the righteousness of a cause justifies disregard for established conventions and democratic procedures.”
The association was also strong in declaring that despite SOCU being portrayed as a requirement in Guyana’s Anti-Money-Laundering and Combating of Financing of Terrorism Act (AML-CFTA) obligations, this was not the case.
Back in November of 2013, Head of the then Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon had stated that SOCU was being set up as a response to non parliamentary recommendations from Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF).
As announced by Luncheon back then, it had been intended for the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) to provide the requisite information it had about money laundering acts to SOCU.
“SOCU was set up in order to strengthen Guyana’s capacity to investigate suspicious financial transactions that are suggestive of money laundering,” the association said. “SOCU was then placed under the authority of the Guyana Police Force.”
The association noted that surveillance of political figures by civil authorities in well-established democratic societies is always a sensitive matter, while in the context of recent events, “surveillance by military authorities is an ominous development.”
On that note, the association called for Government to clarify the extent to which the Central Intelligence Unit located in the Castellani House compound is being used in “Operation Dragnet.”
“Assurances would be welcomed over the extent to which the shadowy electronic surveillance (establishment) established under the previous government, referred to as the Central Intelligence Agency, is being deployed in “Operation Dragnet.”
The association also called for a broader discussion of military involvement, in order to allay any disquiet in the public domain that the surveillance “activities fall within their traditional constitutional role of assisting the civil power in maintaining law and order, when required to do so.”
The Guyana Bar Association (GBA) has already called for a Commission of Inquiry to be mounted into the circumstances surrounding the three deaths on December 30th. It has since been reported that the Traffic Department has submitted the file on the smash up to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), for further advice.
The Guyana Police Force had stated that Pyle, driving motor car PRR 9118, was in pursuit of another vehicle during a “special operation” on behalf of the Special Organized Crime unit (SOCU), when he lost control of his vehicle and crashed into an oncoming canter truck on Carifesta Avenue.
According to reports, Pyle was part of a team that was carrying out the operation in the vicinity of the residence of embattled head of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited, (NICIL), Winston Brassington.
There are however reports that former Miss Guyana India and wife of Member of Parliament Charles Ramson Jr, Alana Seebarran, was in the car being pursued.
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