Slain bandit probably remained in contact with PPP members
Stabroek News
April 17, 2004

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PPP General Secretary Donald Ramotar maintains that slain bandit Gopaul Chowtie was not a member of the party at the time he was killed, although he may have had close ties with its members.

"I am sure that he continued to be in contact with a lot of PPP people," Ramotar told Stabroek News on Wednesday. He was responding to statements by Khemraj Ramjattan who on Tuesday refuted Ramotar's assertions that there was not an existing relationship between the PPP and Chowtie, who was fatally shot by police two Sundays ago during a robbery at Success. Ramjattan, who was expelled from the party in February, said there was no mutual separation and that the dead man was a PPP comrade who had close contact with senior members up until a few weeks ago.

But on Wednesday Ramotar maintained that Chowtie was not a member of the party after 1989.

He said Chowtie worked as an organiser for the party in the North West District but left the job in 1988. He retained his membership for one more year, when he left the party.

"That doesn't mean that he did not know members... But he did not participate in any political activities of the PPP after 1989." Ramjattan had also mentioned that Chowtie was at Freedom House up to a few weeks ago; a claim that Ramotar did not dispute.

"I don't doubt that he visited [Freedom House] but not only members come to Freedom House," he added.

Chowtie, who was described as a businessman/farmer on the firearm application, was licensed to use a .22, .25 or .32 pistol/revolver and a 12, 16 or 20-gauge shotgun.

Ramjattan was one of the persons who endorsed Chowtie's application for a firearm, which was approved by the Home Affairs Minister Ronald Gajraj last year. After his death police had said the dead man was charged for treason in 1991 and was known for piracy on the high seas.

Ramjattan said he was unaware of this and knew the man to be a respectable person, his close ties with the party giving credence to his character.