An investigation should begin immediately, there is no need for a formal statement from Bacchus
January 21, 2004
I wish to take this opportunity to commend you for the manner in which you have fulfilled your duty to the Guyanese people by your constant and prompt exposure of the evidence connected to the operation of the "Phantom Squad." However, I could not help noticing a slight shift, maybe unintentional, in your focus. In your edition of Tuesday January 19, 2004 it was stated that,
"George Bacchus was yesterday again unavailable to comment on whether he is prepared to provide a detailed statement to local authorities, who have signaled their willingness to mount an investigation.
Government spokesmen have said that an investigation will be launched once a detailed statement on the operation of the death squad and its links is made available to local law enforcement or government officials."
Your edition of Monday January 19, 2004 also focused on the pending statement by George Bacchus.
It is clear that some media houses have been taken in by a Government ruse. The government has adopted the position that unless Bacchus, due the kindness of his heart, goes to the Guyana Police and gives a detailed statement there will be no investigation. Who is the government fooling?
George Bacchus has sent clear signals of what he wants:
a. He wants the killing to stop, and
b. He wants the men who killed his brother to be punished.
It is quite possible that Mr. Bacchus has already gotten what he wanted and may not choose to expose himself with any more admissions. So where does this leave the Guyanese people? What this nation needs is far more than what Mr. Bacchus wants. The nation needs answers. The nation needs to be assured that the Phantom Squad is dismantled never to be assembled again. The nation needs justice.
The Government is now behaving as if the launching of an investigation is akin to a criminal conviction. Since when does the launching of an investigation require due process? In fact, the investigation is an integral part of due process. Therefore, with one collective voice the Guyanese people must dismiss the government's ruse for what it really is, "a three card trick."
At the moment, even without a statement there is enough for an investigation to be launched. The following could be the basis for the launching of an investigation:
1. The pile up of bodies over the last twelve to eighteen months. This alone should warrant a special investigation.
2. Interference that led to the murder charge recommended by the DPP not being pursued.
3. Statement at a city hospital by one of the three accused in Shafeek Bacchus murder that he works for Gajraj.
4. Statements by one of the accused that gunmen in the vicinity of Auby's wine bar were body guards of a Minister of the government.
5. The basis for the issuance of firearm licences to certain questionable individuals.
6. The well documented telephone records.
7. Blatant police inaction as a "killing field" erupted. They cannot say they did not know. In fact, some members of the police turned up on some occasions to clean-up loose ends.
The following would be useful to such an investigation:
1. Statements from the relative and friends who were present when victims were abducted. ID parades should also be conducted.
2. Review of all gun licences issued over the last 24 months.
3. Determination of who intervened to prevent the DPP's advice being followed.
4. A real witness protection programme.
5. Gajraj's removal from office during the period of the investigation.
6. Removing the Guyana Police Force from the investigation.
After the investigation all persons should have their day in court. Allowances must be made for those who help the nation to get to the bottom of this "milk drinking for blood letting" enterprise.
James K. Mc Allister