General Council gave PNCR go ahead to push for death squad probe
Stabroek News
February 2, 2004

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Leader of the PNCR Robert Corbin on Saturday night said that the party's General Council has given it the go ahead to do all that is necessary to ensure that death squad allegations made against the Home Affairs Minister Ronald Gajraj are properly investigated.

Corbin said the party would not stop agitating until Gajraj resigns and an independent investigation is held into the allegations levelled against the minister.

A release from the party announcing the meeting at the Well Site, Mandela Avenue had stated that Corbin would be making a speech to inform the public of the party's position on the governance crises in Guyana. However, there was nothing new in Corbin's almost two-hour-long speech on the Gajraj controversy.

On the issue of the death squad Corbin said that all the PNCR was asking for is for the law to work so it could be determined who is controlling the death squad.

He added that even before self-proclaimed informant George Bacchus came out with his allegations his party had raised concerns about the number of young men who were being kidnapped and murdered by unknown persons.

He said the fact that bodies were turning up around the country and the police seemed unable to solve the mystery deaths was enough evidence for an investigation to be launched.

Speaking on the recent announcement of Commissioner-designate, Winston Felix's expected appointment on February 16, Corbin told his supporters not to believe it until the commissioner is appointed.

Taking the podium to loud cheers from around 300 supporters assembled at the site and chants of "Corbin the leader, I love him", Corbin began his presentation by reading Psalm 140 from the Holy Bible much to the amusement of some persons and others who chanted "God liveth," as the scripture was being read.

The bible chapter read by Corbin states in part: "Deliver me, O Lord, from the evil man: preserve me from the violent man; which imagine mischief in their heart; continually are they gathered together for war. They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent adders' poison is under their lips.

Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from the violent man; who have purposed to overthrow my goings. The proud have hid a snare for me, and cords; they have spread a net by the wayside; they have set gins for me."

Corbin reminded that as a political party the PNCR has a right under the constitution to march and demonstrate to represent their constituencies on the issues, which affects them.

He told the gathering that the PNCR was forced to pull back from previous protests and ponder after some persons created havoc and robbed persons on the streets.

"So we reviewed our strategy, we thought it was time to examine (it) and that is why we reviewed our strategy and pull back to plan and think. I know some of you said `like Corbin gone soft'... But one has to think very carefully if our objective is to make this country a better place for every one. And the objective of the People's National Congress Reform is to contribute to the development of [our] state for all the people of this country... Irrespective of race, colour or creed."

Corbin said they were forced to review their strategies because there were agents who wanted to drink milk.

This comment sparked much mirth among the supporters as they would have been reminded about the outburst by Shafeek Bacchus murder accused, Shawn Hinds, who on leaving the court said that the PNC wanted him to drink black tea but he was not prepared to drink black tea since he got milk tea and a better living under the ruling party.

The PNCR leader touched on a number of issues he had spoken about at previous meetings including members of the police force not being brought to justice for killings and being involved in other criminal activities. He also spoke about the length of time the Disciplined Forces Commission took to be set up among other issues.