– points to complicity between some security services personnel and drug lords during ‘troubles’
President David Granger has said that that the inability of the security forces to curtail the criminal violence during the deadly period of the crime wave led to the emergence of counter-forces and death squads.
In his address at the Guyana Police Force (GPF) Officers’ Conference on Thursday, Granger stated that the period of ‘the troubles’ between 2002 and 2008, revealed complicity between rogue elements in the security services and the drug lords.
“It exposed the infiltration of rogue elements into the force. It rendered the security forces vulnerable and exposed some of its vulnerable members to unwarranted death,” Granger said.
Convicted drug kingpin Shaheed ‘Roger’ Khan, who sits in a United States prison cell, had publicly claimed responsibility for ensuring security during the period, claiming to have kept the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) in power.
Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo said that the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) did not need the help of drug lords during the crime wave.
“We didn’t need 20 or 50 drug dealers to help us when we had the security forces,” Jagdeo said when asked about the counterforce.
Jagdeo was president at the time when Khan reportedly operated a counterforce known as ‘the phantom squad’ that reportedly pursued groups holed-up in Buxton and other parts of Guyana.
“They [phantom squad members] were not pursing any government agenda. In fact, there were early linkages between the groups and I think they fell out like how you have guerilla warfare in other parts if the world; they fell out; that’s what the intelligence report I know suggested to me. They were not pursing a national agenda,” Jagdeo outlined.
A document authorizing the procurement and importation of a high-tech phone-tapping and location tracking computer used by Khan’s squad, carried the signature of then Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy.
“I don’t know of counterforces. People described different groups. Remember, one time, in the newspaper it used to be phantom; it’s been described as phantom counterforce. I know that there were criminals out there who were killing ordinary people. They may have been other groups of criminals who had engagement with those criminals who escaped and resided in Buxton and then I know of the state trying to apprehend and deal with all criminals,” Jagdeo stated.
Jagdeo noted that the state security resources that comprised over 6,000 persons were at his disposal as President to go after the criminals who were murdering people randomly of every single race, including police men.
He stated that criminal gangs encountered support from a political force who described the security forces actions as criminal.
“That political force was APNU [A Partnership for National Unity] who constantly talk about extrajudicial killings, who constantly held up some of these criminals as freedom fighters, who argued that for us to get peace in Buxton we had to spend $350 million in infrastructure; who were negotiating on behalf of the insurgence who were murdering people,” Jagdeo stated.
President Granger, who leads the APNU faction of the coalition government, has announced plans to purse investigations into the dozens of deaths that occurred during the crime wave. The first such, is the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the 2008 deaths of eight miners whose burnt remains were discovered at their camp at Lindo Creek, Upper Berbice.
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