Gajraj had requested inquiry last month
Stabroek News
May 11, 2004

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The request by Home Affairs Minister Ronald Gajraj to President Bharrat Jagdeo that an impartial investigation should be held into the allegations about his involvement with a death squad was made almost a month ago, informed sources have told Stabroek News.

At the time, Gajraj also indicated his willingness to proceed on leave while the investigation was being conducted.

However, these sources say the request coincided with the height of the street protests being conducted by the People's Movement for Justice of which the major opposition PNCR is seen as the driving force and thus foreclosed the possibility of any action being taken by the government on the request.

The sources explained that the delay in making public the request was to ensure that it was not seen as being the reaction to the street protests as well as that politics did not overshadow the demands of the law and impartiality.

However, now that the request has been made public, the sources still could not give any indication as to when President Jagdeo would comment on it.

Presidential spokesman Robert Persaud, following Gajraj's statement on Thursday told this newspaper that the president would be commenting at an appropriate time and it is the same response that he gave at his press conference last month when pressed for a reaction to the proposal by PNCR leader Robert Corbin on March 24 broadcast that future discussions on matters of critical importance to the nation should include the other opposition parliamentary parties as well as civil society organisations.

In the interim the donor community has stepped in to try to have the dialogue between the opposition and government resume. The representatives have already met both Jagdeo and the combined opposition parties, and another round of meetings should get underway today.

Meanwhile, over the past week, the opposition parties dispatched a letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan asking him to take such steps he deems desirable to persuade the government to mount an independent, impartial and public inquiry into the allegations against the government's involvement through Gajraj with a state sponsored death squad.

They are requesting that the inquiry should look not only at the allegations involving Gajraj but also the violence that engulfed the country in the aftermath of the February 23 jailbreak, the events at Buxton and other manifestations of communal violence.

They also want the inquiry to be accompanied by a credible and secure witness protection programme and endowed with the authority to hear evidence behind closed doors as well as in public both inside and outside Guyana.