… Govt. hell-bent on going after security forces – PPP
The main opposition, People’s Progressive Party (PPP) yesterday withdrew its earlier support and cooperation with Government’s decision to probe the crime wave period that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Guyanese.
A statement from the party followed yesterday’s appointment of retired Justice Donald Trotman as the sole Commissioner on the Lindo Creek Commission of Inquiry (CoI).
“It appears that this Commission was established with a political objective. Due to the partisan approach in establishing the Commission, which does not inspire trust and confidence, persons with vital information may be reluctant to come forward. The PPP would find it difficult to participate given the nature of the Commission’s establishment, including the decision to start an inquiry with the incidents at Lindo Creek, as opposed to a more comprehensive review of the crime wave,” the party stated.
The PPP cited a potential conflict of interest in the appointment of Justice Trotman as the sole Commissioner, as he is the father of Raphael Trotman, the Minister of Natural Resources and Leader of the coalition partner, Alliance For Change (AFC).
According to the statement, “The PPP wishes to register its concerns about the obvious conflict of interest in naming a Commissioner, who is the father of a sitting Cabinet Minister and Leader of the Alliance For Change (AFC), one of the partners of the Coalition Government.”
The PPP also stated that the appointment seemed to indicate clearly that the coalition government is hell-bent on going after the joint services and leaders that do not seem to ‘fall in line’ with their agenda.
The opposition took note of Minister Joseph Harmon’s statement which it said, seemed to preempt the actions of the commission, even before it commences its work.
According to the PPP, there was similar witch-hunting of top officials of security forces, following the establishment of the Paul Slowe Commission of Inquiry and the government’s interference in the Police Service Commission’s promotion of senior police officers.
“The PPP wishes to make clear that it will vehemently reject any attempts to erode the level of professionalism of Guyana’s security forces and the undermining of the functions of the civilian law enforcement authorities of Guyana,” the PPP stated.
Trotman, 80, a former Magistrate and Judge, was appointed to look into the chilling deaths of eight miners whose burnt remains were discovered on June 21, 2008, at the Lindo Creek mining camp, Upper Berbice.
DNA tests carried out on the remains confirmed the identity of the miners as Dax Arokium, Cedric Arokium, Compton Speirs, Horace Drakes, Clifton Wong, Lancelot Lee, Bonny Harry and Nigel Torres.
Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo who served as president during the crime wave period, said on Saturday last, that he is prepared to appear before a comprehensive CoI to provide information. He also called to be included in the drafting of the terms of reference of the CoI.
Government has since signaled the intention to have separate CoIs in addition to coroners’ inquests into some of the murders.
The PPP also noted the unilateral establishment of the Commission of Inquiry, like others named under the David Granger-led Government. The opposition noted that this underscores the deviation from the former PPP/C administration’s approach to ensure that such undertakings were done in a bi-partisan manner.
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