PPP calls PNC/R’s non-support of death squad probe ‘deceptive antics’
Guyana Chronicle
May 19, 2004

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THE People’s Progressive Party has expressed disappointment by the stance taken by the People’s National Congress/Reform, saying the window of opportunity to resolve the issue over “death squad” allegations against Home Affairs Minister Ronald Gajraj is being spurned by the opposition.

The PPP says it has taken note of the statement made by the PNC/R and supported by ROAR and the WPA that it will not cooperate with, nor accept the findings of the independent Commission of Inquiry set up by President Bharrat Jagdeo to determine whether, and to what extent, there is evidence to support allegations that the Minister of Home Affairs has been involved in activities which involved extra judicial killings.

“President Jagdeo’s move to set up a lawful Commission in accordance with our constitution signifies statesmanship, given the facts on hand and the clear political motivation behind the allegation on Minister Gajraj,” the release stated.

It says it is not surprised by the stance taken by the PNC/R given its history, but is disappointed “that a window of opportunity to have the matter resolved is being spurned by the main opposition party.”

The PPP said it would seem that the PNC/R has already passed judgment on the issue and found the minister guilty, even though it has not presented any evidence to substantiate the allegations.

“While it has chosen to carry out political agitation on the issue,” said the party, “the PNC/R has refused to provide any evidence to the police indicating, in effect, distrust and lack of confidence of that institution and its leadership.”

It said the PNC/R’s behaviour raises several questions and is indicative of a disregard of constitutional and legal means of handling issues.

The PPP said it is convinced that despite attempts by the PNC to cast doubts on the partiality and competence of the Commission members, the Commission will be able to execute its mandate with competence and a high degree of professionalism.

The Party called on Guyanese and the international community not to allow themselves to be deceived by the antics of the PNC/R and to look beyond the PNC/R smokescreen.