What does Dr Van West Charles expect the public to do now in terms of demanding a probe into government links to Roger Khan?
Posted By Stabroek staff On June 6, 2009 @ 5:02 am In Letters | 1 Comment
In response to Dr Richard Van West Charles’s call for Guyanese to demand a probe of government’s ties to Roger Khan (see Thursday’s SN), following new information that indicates a link between government and the supplier of the spy equipment – from authorization to purchase the equipment, to personnel from the supplier conducting training on how to use the equipment – what exactly does he expect Guyanese to now do to satisfy the requirement of demanding a probe? Write letters to newspapers? Mount street protests? Boycott government? What?
I think, as a potential opposition leader and possible presidential candidate, he should be the one coming up with a strategy for getting Guyanese whipped up and agitated on this matter rather than engaging in making bland calls to which no one might respond.
How about taking the information he has at his disposal and dispatching letters to Caricom, the Commonwealth and the United Nations, alerting these bodies that information is coming together that points to an international criminal conspiracy involving an indicted drug baron who may have had connections to the Guyana government, and who engaged in killings that were part of a criminal spree that left over 200 Guyanese dead, and no official probe has ever been done?
Ironically, one year ago – June 8, 2008 to be exact – your newspaper carried an article, ‘Roger Khan had permission to buy surveillance equipment – lawyer,’ in which Khan’s lawyer, Robert Simels, in a subpoena to the US DEA, said that FBI agent, Justin Krider had investigated Khan’s purchase of the computer telephone surveillance equipment from the Spy Shop and this had revealed the Guyana government had given Khan permission to buy and possess the surveillance equipment.
Khan had acknowledged that he had assisted the Guyana government in fighting crime and subversive elements, and that he had taped conversations of leading security officials and other known public figures.
Two days after that news item, on June 10, 2008, SN carried another news item (‘Govt never sanctioned Roger Khan spy gear purchase’), in which the Home Affairs Ministry put out a statement that said it “rejects outright” the claim that it had authorized the importation “by the Roger Khan outfit of the sensitive piece of electronic equipment seized by the Joint Services.” The only problem with that statement was that it was issued when Clement Rohee was minister, whereas the at the time of the spy equipment’s importation, the Home Affairs Minister was Ronald Gajraj, and so it was a bit odd that Gajraj never put out a statement on its purchase and importation, even though he is on record saying that at the time the equipment was in use it was not in breach of any laws in Guyana.
Anyway, the Home Affairs Ministry statement went on, “In Guyana, such sensitive electronic items could only be procured and imported for the exclusive use of law enforcement agencies,” and, “Such a request by the law enforcement agencies of Guyana would have to be approved by the relevant authorities before an application is made by the Government of Guyana to the relevant American authorities for approval for the item to be exported to Guyana.” Further, “In the context of the above, the Ministry of Home Affairs has since requested the American authorities to provide it with the records of all such applications made by the Government of Guyana during the period of the operations of the Roger Khan outfit.”
Sixteen days later, on June 26, 2008, SN carried yet another related story: ‘Spy equipment with police – Jagdeo,’ in which the President revealed that it never worked since being confiscated.
However, the President would later suggest when he was asked how the police can have the same spy equipment the FBI also claims to have, that there might have been two. He wound up by asking the very press he loves to malign and reprimand to investigate if there were indeed two, but he cleverly avoided offering the one he claimed the police had to be examined by the press. Was he ever serious?
At the June 25 press conference, the President had also said his government could not give permission to Khan to import the equipment and that only the US government could have done that. This statement would appear to contradict the statement put out by the Home Affairs Ministry (see paragraph 5 above), as it seems that the government could give permission.
Separately, SN reported the President as saying he had “requested information from the US State Department on that issue as well as allegations from the US Government that Khan may have been tied to a group responsible for over 200 murders during the period of 2002 – 2006.” He then made this denial: “We don’t have any hard evidence about these claims, but we have nothing to hide so we have requested the information from the US and whatever are the responses we will make it public.”
Guyanese continue to receive stunning information that makes us all wonder how the government, including the President who is also Commander-in-Chief, not know who Roger Khan was and what he did given the government itself was said to have been under threat!
I know there are Guyanese who are ready and willing to see Roger Khan’s ‘heroics’ as helping to stamp out demented criminal elements, save the Jagdeo-led PPP regime from being overthrown and society from imploding, but there are also Guyanese who refuse to see Khan’s actions as heroic, and actually fault the government for possibly having connections with Khan and trying to cover it up by a maze of denials and distractions. In fact, many Guyanese have wondered why government never sought out Caricom’s help for a peacekeeping force to make up for the failing police and army.
After all, Guyana has fielded peacekeeping contingents of police and army personnel as part of Caricom peacekeping forces.
This is not about private or domestic missteps, but murders (possibly related to both sides of the political divide) of over 200 Guyanese in a country of 700,000 and no government-sanctioned investigation to-date. And this is what Dr Van West Charles should be trying to bring to the attention of regional and other world bodies with which Guyana interacts. Maybe he can show true leadership if he makes this move and gets some official response to set the process in motion for an official international investigation now that there are international players involved.
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1 Comment To "What does Dr Van West Charles expect the public to do now in terms of demanding a probe into government links to Roger Khan?"
#1 Comment By Biswattie Ramsawak On June 6, 2009 @ 6:35 am
Dr Van Winkle I am still awaiting your apology.
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