The Commissioner's letter to me is quite premature
January 30, 2004
I wish to acknowledge receipt of (the letter by the Commissioner of Police) dated January 22, 2004 under the caption "Allegations made by George Bacchus". In that letter you (Mr. Police Commissioner) stated that the President had informed you that in a letter to him dated January 15, 2004, I indicated that I have "information/intelligence in relation to the operation of several "Death Squads' and the complicity of State Functionaries". You also invited me to make available to you "whatever intelligence or reports you may have in your possession in order to facilitate a proper, professional and transparent investigation into these allegations".
First, let me say that the caption of your letter is unfortunately misleading. The concerns which I expressed to the President were over the "apparent existence of a 'death squad' which operates as hired murderers and allegations that the Minister of Home Affairs, Ronald Gajraj, spearheads this killing squad, said to be responsible for numerous executions over the last year." For ease of reference I have attached a copy of my letter to the President.
Paragraph 3 of my letter states:
"Guyanese have been expressing concerns about the extraordinary rate of unusual killings, particularly over the last year. The Guyana Police Force issued several public statements disassociating themselves from these killings. Throughout this period, there have been several allegations in the public domain about:
* Irregularities in the issuance of firearms by the Minister of Home Affairs; including bribery and the granting of firearm licenses to known felons;
* The formation of several questionable groups, under the guise of Community Policing Groups, that have been issued with firearms;
* The existence of death squads alleged to be under the control of senior government functionaries;
* The association of some senior functionaries and these squads in criminal activity; including the narcotic trade;
* The claim that one recent victim of the death squad, Axel Williams, had revealed that a senior government functionary had ordered a "hit" on a businessman; and more recently,
* The revelations of George Bacchus, the confessed informant of the Minister of Home Affairs"
I refuse to believe that as Commissioner of Police responsible for the security of this nation you are unaware of these serious matters.
May I also attract your attention to paragraph 8 of my letter, which states inter alia:
"Indeed we have received information which suggests that there is more than one of these death squads and that a senior functionary of the Police Force has been working with the Minister in 'handling' these squads. Naturally, many persons who have information would, given the manner of death of Axel Williams and Shafeek Bacchus, be afraid to come forward unless there is confidence in any inquiry to be established. The persons so far involved in the so-called police investigation will be further deterrents. It is also inconceivable that such an investigation can be conducted while the Minister, who is one of the subjects of the investigation, remains the Political head of the investigation agency."
If my letter is fully understood you would appreciate that your letter to me is quite premature since I am unaware of the establishment of any truly independent body to investigate these matters. I have also not seen any action taken in response to the prerequisite stated in my letter that the incumbent Minister should demit office to avoid interference in any such investigation.
Instead of wasting time and valuable tax payers' money pursuing the political agenda of your masters, you should be carrying out your Constitutional mandate of spearheading proper policing efforts to compile the evidence that we all know is available and already in the public domain.
ROBERT H. O. CORBIN
LEADER OF THE PEOPLE'S NATIONAL CONGRESS &
LEADER OF THE PARLIAMENTARY OPPOSITION