‘Death squad’ probe
Bacchus admits making tape clearing Gajraj
-claims he was promised $10M to retract statement
June 15, 2004
INVESTIGATIONS into allegations linking Home Affairs Minister Ronald Gajraj to a ‘killing squad’ took an unusual turn yesterday, with self-confessed informant George Bacchus admitting that he had made a tape recording clearing Gajraj of any wrong-doing.
But Bacchus claims that he made the tape after he was promised $10M and safe passage out of the country. He said that he decided to take up the offer after receiving several warnings that gunmen linked to the squad wanted him dead.
The informant says that he has not collected any of the money that was promised to him.
PNC/R leader Robert Corbin had also stated on television recently that persons had offered Bacchus a substantial sum to retract his statement against Gajraj.
Bacchus told Kaieteur News that the recording was made last month at the Princes Street home of PPP/C parliamentarian Shirley Edwards.
In a statement yesterday, Edwards also said that Bacchus made the recording at her home. She identified senior Government Information Agency’s (GINA’s) staffer Michael Gordon as the person who made the recording.
However, she denied that any offer of money was made to Bacchus.
“I wish to state that at no time was there any talk of or promise of a bribe to do that or any other interview,” the statement said.
“Also, I never heard Gordon or anyone else offering Bacchus a bribe. He did the interview on his own free will.”
The parliamentarian said that Bacchus, whom she knows well, had approached her in mid-May to seek her assistance in retracting the statement.
“According to him, he knew that Gajraj was not neither in nor responsible for any death squads,” the statement said.
“But he was angry that when he told Minister Gajraj who was responsible for the killing of his brother, the Minister, he claims, did not act promptly. Bacchus said that he was angry and that was why he made the statement against the Minister.
“Bacchus said that he now wanted the public to know that Minister Gajraj was not involved in any death squad.”
However, Bacchus denied ever speaking to Edwards, but said that it was the parliamentarian’s son who approached him with the proposition about the recording.
According to Bacchus, the man, known as ‘Powers’, had first asked him if he wanted to talk to Gajraj.
Bacchus said that he had declined.
But he said that some time later, the man again visited him.
“He said that ‘the big belly man’ ask if I would make a take saying that Gajraj never in charge of any squad, and that I said that because I angry because my brother get kill.”
Bacchus said that it was at that time that the offer of $10M and safe passage out of Guyana was made.
Bacchus said that he agreed to the offer because he was also told that persons at the helm of the killing squad could get the hit men “off my back.”
“If you was in a position like this, the gunmen on your back, the politicians on your back, what would you do?” he asked.
The former informant said that the recording was made at parliamentarian Shirley Edward’s home. “A brown-skin man with glasses come to me and say the boss send him to get a statement.”
He said that it was this same brown-skinned man who made the recording.
However, he said that while Edwards was in a room while the recording was made.
Bacchus also refuted claims made by Edwards in her statement that PNCR MPs Raphel Trotman and Debra Backer had ever visited his home. Trotman also denied ever visiting Bacchus’s home when Kaieteur News contacted him last night.
The former ‘killing squad’ informant says he is also upset that police officials have still not attempted to contact him, even after he revealed that he had witnessed the execution of a wanted man in the D’urban Backlands area last year.