PNC/R sets up anti-Gajraj platform outside Home Affairs Ministry
Guyana Chronicle
January 16, 2004

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IN the wake of widely publicized allegations implicating Home Affairs Minister Mr. Ronald Gajraj as being associated with a so called "death squad" said to be responsible for a number of mysterious killings, the People's National Congress/ Reform (PNC/R) yesterday publicly made its position on the matter known.

The party, which on Monday began organizing a picketing exercise in front of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Brickdam, yesterday took to a platform there to make a public press statement outlining, among other things, its call for the immediate resignation of Mr. Gajraj pending a criminal investigation.

Party executive Ms. Deborah Backer, who read the statement, said: "It is the only morally and legal thing for Gajraj and the PPP/Civic to do in the circumstances." She added that there could be no justification for systematic murder of citizens by the state.

She said the government must show that it has absolute respect for the law and for the other principles of good governance. A policy by the party of non-recognition of the Home Affairs Minister is in effect, she added.

The statement said nothing about Minister Gajraj denying links with such a squad, although he acknowledged receiving telephone calls from people giving what they said were privileged information on criminal activities, since they claimed to have had reservations about police confidentiality.

Backer, who is an Attorney-at- Law, noted that the Guyana Police Force has already acted on George Bacchus's allegations, detaining several persons believed to be directly involved in the shooting to death of his brother Shafeek Bacchus.

Party Leader, Mr. Robert Corbin, who spoke briefly at the meeting, has appealed to religious bodies, and all Guyanese at home and abroad, to let their voices be heard on the matter. "There is no race, religion or colour in terms of state terrorism and murder," he said.

To this end, the party has also launched a signature campaign which has started in migrant Guyanese communities in the United States, Canada, and London. The campaign has started here, too, he said.

Corbin said that posters have already been mounted outside stores in Toronto, Canada, highlighting the problem in an effort "to let the world know the kind of regime we have in Guyana."

The picketing exercise which was being carried out before the public statement was read resumed afterwards. (Jaime Hall)