STATEMENT OF HIS EXCELLENCY BHARRAT JAGDEO, PRESIDENT OF GUYANA, ON PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION OF INQUIRY
May 15, 2004
Having regard to the request by the Minister of Home Affairs to me several weeks ago and contained in his public statement of May 7, 2004, and having considered the merits of a timely intervention on my part, I have decided to put in place mechanisms for the conduct of an inquiry into the allegations of criminal misconduct against him.
The Minister of Home Affairs has assured me that he has conducted himself lawfully and within the legal powers of his office. I have had no reason to doubt his assurance. The Minister of Home Affairs enjoys my confidence and that of my entire Cabinet. However, it is necessary to stop the trial by the media and the political agitation surrounding this matter.
My decision having been made, I have instructed that measures be put in place immediately, for the establishment of a Presidential Commission of Inquiry under the laws of Guyana, Chapter 19:03.
I have, after careful consideration decided to constitute a Commission with three Guyanese, recognised for their competence in legal and law enforcement disciplines. Justice of Appeal Ian Chang S.C. has, with some reluctance, acceded to my request to serve as the Chairperson of that Commission. Joining him as members of the Commission would be former Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force Major General (Ret'd), Mr. Norman Mc Lean, and Deputy Commissioner of Police (Ret'd) and Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Mr. Ivan Crandon.
There can be no doubt of the fairness, competence and the impartiality of these three Guyanese. I wish to state categorically that there will not be any interference in the work of the Commission of Inquiry by the Government. The Commission will determine its procedures for the fair and proper conduct of the inquiry. The work of the Commission shall commence at a time to be determined by its Chairman.
Failing to reach him by telephone, it is with regret that I had to write the Leader of the Opposition informing him of my decision. The majority of the international community and some local stakeholders had earlier been informed of my inclinations and have now been also made aware of my decision.
At a subsequent time, an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the February 23, 2002 jailbreak, the plight of victims of the criminal violence and political linkages to the 2002/2003 crime wave will be seriously considered.
I call on all concerned with resolving this issue to fully support my decision and the subsequent work of this Commission of Inquiry.
MAY 14, 2004
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
P.S. See attached Commissions of Inquiry Act, CVs of the Members of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry and the Terms of Reference of the Commission
COMMISSION OF INQUIRY
The Commission, appointed by the Honourable President, in accordance with
the provisions of the Commissions of Inquiry Act, Chapter 19:03 is to examine,
advise and report on the following:
to what extent there is evidence of a credible nature to support the allegations
that the Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Ronald Gajraj, has been involved in
promoting, directing or otherwise engaging in activities which have involved
the extra-judicial killing of persons.