President David Granger has mandated that a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) be established to investigate, examine, advise and report on all the circumstances under which a foreign aircraft, which was discovered near the village of Yupukari, Upper Essequibo-Upper Takutu, some two weeks ago, had entered into the country.
Brigadier Edward Collins has been identified and appointed Commissioner. He will be sworn in today before Chief Magistrate, Ann Mc Lennan at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.
It is expected that a Preliminary Report will be submitted on October 17, 2016 and the Final report will be submitted on November 16, 2016.
Since the aircraft was discovered, there have been, according to residents, suspicious activities. The investigators have since seized communications equipment from the aircraft.
Members of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), the Guyana Police Force’s Criminal Investigations Department (CID), the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU), the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and other related agencies, over the past few weeks have been conducting an assessment of the twin-engine Cessna Aircraft.
The team is busy gathering evidence that will help investigators uncover the circumstances under which the aircraft came to be abandoned at the location.
Last Saturday morning, a team including Head of CANU, James Singh, and GCAA officials, ventured into the area to further assess the aircraft for damage and capabilities in order to make recommendations on what should be done with it.
Additionally, the CANU team is seeking to determine whether the aircraft may have any links to the narcotics trade.
During a search of the aircraft, several pieces of communication equipment were discovered. These have been secured to be further examined for any potential leads.
The Ministry of the Presidency, had stated that the police and army are speaking with nearby residents in the hope of turning up leads in the case and this has resulted in a number of them sharing information they deemed as ‘suspicious activity’, such as the presence of motorcycles frequently at midnight in the area.
They also reported that the abandoned aircraft was previously sighted circling the area on numerous occasions in the past.
The plane, bearing registration number N767Z, was first brought to the attention of officials on September 13, by a resident of the area.
The following day a joint army and police patrol, that included CANU, was dispatched to the location to conduct a full investigation.
Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, in an invited comment, stated that while the Government is yet to receive a full report on what would have transpired over the last few days, President David Granger and the entire Government are committed to ensuring that a full investigation into the matter is completed.
The Minister noted that reports received from residents near the area where the aircraft was discovered have raised serious concerns for those involved in the investigation.
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