No PNC/R response to Min. Gajraj leave offer
--- party's 'political posture' blamed for inquiry delay
Guyana Chronicle
May 12, 2004

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THE PNC/R would not comment yesterday on news that Home Affairs Minister Ronald Gajraj had indicated to President Bharrat Jagdeo over four weeks ago his willingness to proceed on leave so that a fair and independent inquiry could be conducted into the serious allegations against him by a self-confessed death squad informant.

This offer was also relayed to certain members in the diplomatic community.

A usually reliable source said the PNCR was "taken up with its street campaign and its violent rhetoric at that time" and so no "action was taken on the Minister's intention to have his name cleared by an independent inquiry."

Any action on the Minister's intention at that time "would have been seen as a response to the PNCR political campaign, which has drawn weak support. "The thinking was to have less politics, especially confrontational politics, in resolving such an issue," said the informed source.

"There was no doubt about the Minister's desire to have this issue resolved, but the PNCR's high-pitched political postures and recalcitrance were responsible for the delay in resolving this issue," added the source.

Asked by the Chronicle yesterday to respond to the latest news about Minister Gajraj's offer as long as a month ago, General Secretary Oscar Clarke refused to comment. Party leader Robert Corbin was said to be out of the country.

According to the source, any supposed linkage between the Minister's public statement and a recent letter to the UN by the opposition or meetings with the donor community has no basis in reality.

In a statement released through GINA last Friday, Minister Gajraj offered to go on leave to allay apprehensions about his presence on the job compromising an independent and impartial investigation into allegations linking him with a phantom squad, which has been accused of extra-judicial killings.