President examining legal advice on Crandon's appointment to 'death squad' Commission
Guyana Chronicle
June 3, 2004

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GINA -- PRESIDENT Bharrat Jagdeo is considering legal advice on the appointment of Former Deputy Commissioner of Police and Chairman of the Police Service Commission Ivan Crandon to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry.

This is according to Head of the Presidential Secretariat and Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon, at his weekly post-Cabinet media briefing yesterday.

On May 14, the Head of State announced the appointment of a Presidential Commission of Inquiry.

He announced that, in accordance with Chapter 19:03 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act, which enables the President to appoint a Commission, he had appointed a Presidential Commission chaired by Justice of Appeal, Ian Chang, SC.

The other members of the Commission are former Major General and Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, Norman McLean, and retired Deputy Commissioner of Police, Ivan Crandon.

The appointment of the Commission follows Minister Gajraj's public announcement on May 7 that he had requested from President Jagdeo permission to proceed on leave to allow for an impartial investigation into allegations of his knowledge of the operations of an alleged death squad.

The President's action follows concerns of Amnesty International and the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA), about whether or not Crandon's appointment is a conflict of interest, since he already sits on a Constitutional Commission - the Police Service Commission. During an interview last Saturday, the President had indicated that he is willing to discuss this further with those concerned, and if that is the case, he is prepared to make changes.

Last week Dr. Luncheon said legal advice was being sought. In an update today, he said that the President is at present examining the legal opinions and a decision is still to be made. He anticipated that the final composition of the Presidential Commission will be confirmed after the President would have concluded his examination of the legal advice rendered.

This, the HPS said, is the outstanding hurdle in way of the Commission's appointment.

When the instruments of Commission are conferred, Minister Gajraj would then proceed on leave and his portfolio would be held by another Minister, so that the investigation may proceed.