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Mar 15, 2017 News
…insists he was at ‘drink up’ with SOCU
By Brushell Blackman
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo is insisting that members of the British High Commission
were at a function at the Oasis Café on March 9, last, having drinks with members of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) and Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan.
He said that they were there to ‘celebrate’ the arrests of members of the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) in relation to the Pradoville 2 probe.
At a PPP/C press conference at Freedom House, yesterday, Jagdeo inferred that there seemed to be a conspiracy between the government, SOCU and the British High Commission with regards to the Pradoville 2 investigation and the arrests of members of the PPP/C.
The former president said that he was soliciting the help of the media in trying to determine whether the conspiracy theory has any validity.
Jagdeo made reference to a statement issued by PPP/C member Anil Nandlall who said that members of the British High Commission including the British High Commissioner, Gregory Quinn, being present at the Oasis café in celebratory mood and having drinks after PPP/C members were arrested.
The British High Commissioner subsequently refuted those claims and insisted that British fraud expert, Dr Sam Sittlington, was having a get-together since his contract in Guyana had ended and he was returning to the United Kingdom (UK). Quinn insisted that he or no member of staff of the High Commission was present at that function.
Jagdeo said that his party consulted with a source that was at the Oasis café on the March 10, last, and that individual confirmed High Commission officials were present at that establishment.
“His Excellency Mr. Quinn himself and two other staff members of the British High Commission were present at the establishment (Oasis café))”.
Jagdeo said that his party has a different view of Sittlington’s role, and insisted that the latter has exceeded his official remit in the capacity of advising and training SOCU staff. He ventured over into national matters which should not be permissible by his role, Jagdeo said.
The Opposition Leader said that the fact that Dr Sittlington attempted to explain the justification for arrests and the legal basis upon which those arrests were made was evidence that he ventured outside the purview of his role at SOCU. Additionally, Jagdeo said that Sittlington’s utterances in relation to the arrest also swayed him into the political realm to which he doesn’t belong.
Jagdeo said that his party has information that Dr Sittlington has been on raids with SOCU and has gone into the premises of Guyanese nationals in direct contravention to why he was invited to Guyana in the first place.
Jagdeo said that the British High Commission assertion that Dr Sittlington has no operational role at SOCU cannot be true. He alleges that he has a ‘hands on’ approach at that entity.
The former president said that this behavior is objectionable and that the government has a foreigner operating here that is trespassing on the rights of Guyanese citizens. Jagdeo went further and said that Sittlington was the person who drove the police to his office to arrest him.
The former president stated that Ramjattan’s admission that he was indeed having drinks with SOCU members at Dr Sittlington’s leaving party does not send the right message and smacks at being unethical.
Rhetorically Jagdeo asked, “How does that look and what should that be taken to mean?” The opposition leader said that he trusted Nandlall on the information he provided regarding those persons that were present at the Oasis Café for that function.
Head of SOCU, Sydney James, had said that the function at the café was not to celebrate arrests of anyone but rather it was one that was held to coincide with Sittlington’s departure from Guyana after his contract had ended.
The opposition leader said that Sittlington’s alleged involvement operationally at SOCU is a serious matter and is calling for a Commission of Inquiry to find out the truth of what really was Sittlington’s role and if indeed the British High Commissioner, Gregory Quinn, and his staff were at the Oasis Café celebrating with SOCU and ministers of government the day after Jagdeo and other members of the PPP/C were arrested.
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