UN Office lauds Min. Gajraj's inquiry move
Guyana Chronicle
May 13, 2004

Related Links: Articles on 'wrong man' death
Letters Menu Archival Menu

THE Office of the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations (UN) System in Guyana yesterday indicated that the move by Home Affairs Minister, Mr. Ronald Gajraj, to proceed on leave while calling for an impartial inquiry into death squad allegations against him, is "a step in the right direction."

A statement from the UN Office yesterday afternoon said the Minister's move should lead ultimately to a "just and transparent" resolution of this matter.

"Over the past months Guyana's prospects of achieving economic development and poverty reduction have been constrained by the death squad allegations and the ensuing political impasse (and) these developments are of major concern to the UN and the international community," the statement said.

In this regard, it said "the recent offer of Minister Gajraj to proceed on leave while calling for an impartial inquiry into the allegations is a step in the right direction and needs to be followed up by the implementation of a commonly-accepted approach towards the just and transparent resolution of this matter."

"The United Nations in Guyana, in consultation with its partners in the international community, urge the political leadership of Guyana to use the window of opportunity in the best possible manner, including, as appropriate, bi-partisan institutions such as the constitutional committees and commissions, and in accordance with relevant national and international norms and standards in order to guarantee an impartial, independent and transparent inquiry; and to re-engage in the institutions of governance," the statement added.

It said the UN and the international community stands ready to support Guyana's efforts in this direction, as appropriate and requested.

Minister 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 allegations against him by self-confessed death squad informant George Bacchus. This offer was also relayed to certain members in the diplomatic community.

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