Former Chancellor to be sworn in as member of inquiry
Guyana Chronicle
July 9, 2004

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SENIOR Counsel and former Chancellor of the Judiciary and Attorney General, Mr. Keith Massiah, who has been named the third member of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into allegations of misconduct against Minister of Home Affairs Ronald Gajraj, is to be sworn in shortly after his return from abroad this week.

Head of the Presidential Secretariat (HPS) Dr Roger Luncheon made this announcement during his weekly news conference last Wednesday.

Massiah replaces Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Ivan Crandon, who was earlier selected by President Bharrat Jagdeo.

According to the HPS, the President's intentions attracted widespread reactions. He noted that the main opposition party, the People's National Congress/Reform (PNC/R) led the campaign of rejection characterised by public dismissals, expressed intention of non-cooperation and a willful campaign of denigration and slander of Commissioners.

However, Dr Luncheon observed, constructively, other bodies raised issues that led to a detailed Presidential review.

"The Office of the President and the Guyanese public await a definitive response from the opposition PNC/R. Specifically, the PNC/R has to publicly state whether it intends to abandon not only its vows of non-cooperation with the inquiry but its obvious sponsorship of the campaign of public interests outside Ministers offices and private homes of Government functionaries, and their habitual resort to terrorising and holding business communities hostage in sick version of acceptable politics," Dr Luncheon declared.

Meanwhile, in response to a query of Gajraj's alleged presence at the Ministry of Home Affairs even though he is on leave, Luncheon replied that he could not confirm whether Gajraj was at the Ministry. But, he explained, if Gajraj had been present as alleged, it would not have been in his capacity as Minister.

The HPS added that the Minister as a citizen or Member of Parliament is not prevented from visiting the Office of the President to pursue issues in those capacities. (Chamanlall Naipaul)