Saturday, June 21, 2008

Let the probe called for by the AFC be held

Let the probe called for by the AFC be held
Kaieteur News letter. 20 June 2008

I have an aversion to responding to feature articles written under pseudonyms, such as ‘Peeping Tom’, but I will take exception to the one titled, “Let’s have a full, not a limited enquiry”, (June 18), if only because of the gravity of the issue under discussion.
The writer pretends to support the AFC’s call on the UN to help launch a probe into Roger Khan’s Phantom Squad operations that allegedly claimed 200 lives, but really seeks to negate the impact such a probe can have on the Bharrat Jagdeo regime for apparently “facilitating” the squad’s extra judicial activities, by suggesting the probe be expanded to include the dangerous criminal spree that preceded the Phantom Squad.
Let’s be frank about one thing: we seem to have more damning evidence against Khan and his gang, which seemed to have a dotted line relationship to the PPP regime, than we seem to have linking loosely knitted criminal groups and the PNC.
This does not mean the PNC should be absolved of links, but despite repeated charges by the government, neither it nor the Police have tendered a shred of credible evidence to substantiate the charges linking the PNC to dangerous criminals.
Without hard criminal evidence or even credible witnesses, such as those armed criminals who have been killed out by the Joint Services, how can there be a probe of the criminal gangs? Government keeps shooting itself in the foot when criminals are killed and not arrested! We’ve recovered some of the AK-47s, but no criminal is alive to talk about them!
What evidence do we have so far against Khan? While fleeing the Joint Services en route to Suriname, Khan himself unveiled his role fighting dangerous criminals by financing their extra judicial killings.
The US authorities went one step farther recently and revealed he was responsible for about 200 deaths. Six years ago he was caught with a powerful eavesdropping device that can only be purchased and imported into a country based on approval of a government.
It was confiscated and then reissued for private use in bugging the phones of the then top cop and a PNC official.
Khan’s lawyers went one step farther and revealed the device was purchased in Florida, leading concerned Guyanese to ask, who in the Jagdeo regime placed their signature on a government letter head and authorised the
purchase of this device?
While the US authorities are looking to try Khan for conspiring to smuggle narcotics out of Guyana to America, the preliminary process is opening up a Pandora’s Box of information that is embarrassing to the Jagdeo regime, because even if the regime denies knowledge of Khan’s alleged narcotics activities, how can it extend its denial to include Khan’s extra judicial links and possession or use of the eavesdropping device?
Based on evidence so far, how can he be treated like he was a ghost in Guyana?
The little bit of information we have so far on Khan is enough to demand that the government re-appoints the Phantom Squad Commission to re-open its probe of Mr. Ronald Gajraj, and invite former acting top cop, Mr. Floyd McDonald to answer tough questions about Khan’s allegations that he used cops on the GPF payroll to help rub out criminals, and how he came to be in possession of the eavesdropping device.
If the government fails to do this, it has every reason to fear that more damaging information could surface if and when the Khan case gets underway in New York.
So far, its credibility has taken a severe beating, and no matter how much it tries to keep in the public’s view its vigorous search for the apprehension of ‘Fine Man’ Rawlins and his gang, the Khan issue is going to survive this obvious attempt to distract from what seems to be more damaging than what ‘Fine Man’ Rawlings and his gang have done.
There can be no plausible defence for ‘Fine Man’s grotesque murders, but because the Khan issue appears to have the fingerprints of Government officials on it, this could lead to an international scandal if it can be proven via a thorough probe or in an international court that the government was in bed with him to wipe out criminal elements.
What’s worse is that if most of Khan’s victims were black, then given the government is predominantly Indian and Khan is of Indian extraction, it could pass for a government-approved ethnic retaliation.
It is one thing for a private citizen or a group of private citizens to engage in ethnic defensive/offensive tactics, but it is totally different when the State lends tacit approval.
In 2002-2004, I wrote letters condemning the ethnic-targeted criminal attacks and the physical and psychological trauma on our Indian community.
I also recognised the threat spiraling criminal violence posed to the security of Government and stability of society and urged Government to call in outside help. But now I know why it didn’t.
Nevertheless, when vigilante justice supplants the rule of law, to the extent displayed by Khan and his gang, then since there is no law in Guyana that authorises him to do what he did, this makes him, those who authorised him, and those whom he authorised all criminals just like the criminals they wiped out.
I say, based on evidence to date, let the probe called for by the AFC be held, then we can look at all other cases as the evidence comes to light.
Emile Mervin

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