NFA welcomes Commission of Inquiry
Guyana Chronicle
May 19, 2004

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THE National Front Alliance has welcomed the establishment of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into allegations of state-sponsored killings attributed to Home Affairs Minister Ronald Gajraj.

The small political party says it is also "relieved" by the decision by Minister Gajraj to proceed on leave in order to facilitate the launching of the independent inquiry into the allegations against him.

The NFA recalled that in a statement on January 13 last, it emphasized that "it would have been in the national interest to mount a genuine, independent inquiry into these allegations and their potential consequences." It said that had its timely advise been heeded, "the marches, the paralyzing fear afflicting the business community, the confusion and racial division that surfaced, might have been avoided...and the credibility of the Government would have been enhanced."

It welcomed what it is the positive move towards an inquiry and urged the severing of the links between the Minister and his office at this time, "so as to defuse any lingering fear of interference."

The NFA is also happy that the Terms of Reference of the three-member commission do not include any investigation into the crime wave, believing this would have given the impression that "vested interests" are represented in the composition of the panel. "This applies to political parties/agencies which have been implicated in the atrocities relating to the 'death squad' issue and the criminal rampage which engulfed communities across the nation, especially on the East Coast of Demerara."

The King Street-based party says it stands ready to provide inputs to the prosecution of the work of the panel. The panel consists of Court of Appeal Justice Ian Chang, retired Army Chief of Staff and Deputy Commissioner of Police Norman Mc Lean, and decorated war veteran and retired Deputy Police Commissioner Ivan Crandon.