Crandon’s appointment compromises Commission of Inquiry - PMJ
Kaieteur News

June 5, 2004

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The People’s Movement for Justice (PMJ) has charged that Ivan Crandon, who was appointed to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry, has showed the willingness in the past to stoop to pressure from the government.

The PMJ is contending that the credibility of the Commission of Inquiry is compromised by the appointment of Crandon, who is the Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC).

At a press conference yesterday held at City Hall, convenor of PMJ, Desmond Trotman, distributed a letter signed by Crandon addressed to Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon, regarding the appointment of the Police Commissioner and Deputy Police Commissioners.

This letter is one purported to have evidence in support of the PMJ’s view which questions the prospect of impartiality of the Commission of Inquiry.

“It is clear that Mr. Crandon…very early in the execution of his duties as Chairman of the Police Service Commission, demonstrated a willingness to bow to pressure from the President and take action in the President’s interest in violation of the Constitution of Guyana,” Trotman declared.

In the letter, Crandon sets out the PSC’s position in respect to Dr. Luncheon’s letter to him dated January 20, 2004, “notifying of the desire of His Excellency to consult on, and implement the provisions regarding the appointment of Commissioner and Deputy Commissioners of Police.”

In paragraph two of the letter, Crandon stated: “We are of the view that confirmation of Mr. Floyd Mc Donald as Commissioner of Police would be in violation of the laws of Guyana Chapter 27:12 – Constitution (Prescribed Matters) Act, which specifically prohibits the extension of the service of the Commissioner, if he had not been the holder of the Office of the Commissioner upon attaining the age of fifty-five (55) years.”

Paragraph four stated: “However, the Commission, not wanting to show any disrespect to His Excellency the President, would be willing to agree to your proposals that prior authority is obtained for Mr. Winston Felix to be appointed as Supernumerary Commissioner with effect from the same date of Mr. Floyd Mc Donald’s confirmation.”

Trotman reiterated the PMJ’s rejection of the Commission of Inquiry.

He contended that the appointment of the Commission of Inquiry without consultation was done with the intention to ensure (a) a thorough search for the truth is not carried out and the possible linkage between those higher up than Home Affairs Minister Ronald Gajraj, both in government and in the ruling party and the ‘death squad’, remains hidden, (b) in the absence of safeguards, persons with evidence will not come forward to testify before the Commission, (c) in the light of the failure of persons to appear and give evidence before the Commission, Gajraj will be exonerated.

Trotman stated that the matter is now made more serious with the government’s gazetting of the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry, thereby declaring its commitment to continue with the process.

He said his organisation will continue its campaign to convince the diplomatic and international community of the correctness of PMJ’s and Parliamentary opposition’s rejection of the Commission of Inquiry.

He stated that the PMJ will also embark on a campaign to sensitise and mobilize citizens in both the urban and rural communities for a more intense protest for the restoration of the rule of law.

It is the view of the PMJ that the collapse of the rule of law is manifested by the breakdown in law and order exemplified by the deteriorating crime situation, corruption, bad governance, rise in the incidences of narco-trafficking, violations of workers and human rights, rape of the industrial relations process, violence against women and children, racially motivated violence, and violence that is politically orchestrated to give the impression that they are racially motivated, and extra-judicial killings.

Trotman said the PMJ is still particularly concerned over the allegations made by George Bacchus that linked Gajraj in the operations of state sponsored ‘death squads’.

He said the PMJ has pledged to agitate, as a first priority, for an independent and impartial inquiry conducted by eminent persons into the allegations and the allegations of other violence beginning from the 2002 Mashramani day jail break.

“In the PMJ, we hold very strongly to the view that allegations, which in effect mean that high officials of the state identified and collaborated in the execution of its citizens, point to the worst forms of degradation in any society,” he stated.

He said the PMJ believes that Guyana was thrust into an extremely difficult situation by the allegations and feels there could be no forward movement until a resolution was found to the matter.

“It is that situation which forced the PMJ to declare its commitment to pursue with all of its vigour a resolution to the grave problem Guyana was faced with,” he said.

Trotman said PMJ’s efforts were concentrated on sensitizing the nation about the gravity of the problem and to internationalise people’s awareness to the existing problem.

He recalled that letters outlining PMJ’s concerns were sent to President Bharrat Jagdeo, Secretary General of CARICOM Edwin Carrington, and Secretary General of the Commonwealth Don Mc Kinnon.

In the letters to the international organizations, PMJ reminded them of their principles and declarations on good governance and the rule of law.

PMJ had urged that the organizations place their support behind the call for an independent inquiry.

According to Trotman, PMJ received acknowledgements from the Office of the President and the Commonwealth Secretary General but none from Carrington.