Massiah sworn onto Gajraj inquiry panel
Stabroek News
July 13, 2004

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The final member of the Prseidential Commission of Inquiry to investigate the Home Affairs Minister's alleged involvement in organised killings was appointed yesterday.

Senior Counsel Keith Massiah, who was once attorney-general under the PNCR, took the oath of office before President Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday clearing the way for the panel to begin its work, the Government Information Agency (GINA) reported.

The commission has been constituted to determine if there is any credible evidence to support the charges against Minister Ronald Gajraj, who is now on leave to facilitate the investigation.

Massiah, who was chancellor of the judiciary and chief justice under the PNCR government, replaces retired deputy police commissioner Ivan Crandon as the third member of the commission.

The other members are Justice of Appeal Ian Chang S.C., who will serve as chair and retired army chief-of-staff Norman McLean.

Crandon was replaced because of concerns that his appointment may have been a conflict of interest as he is current Chairman of the Police Service Commission.

These concerns were raised by the Guyana Human Rights Association and Amnesty International as well as several other groups including the Parliamentary Opposition parties, who initially rejected the commission.

After an initial outright rejection, the PNCR has said it would not interfere with the commission's work, although it is still unsatisfied with the Terms of Reference and the method of appointment.

The commission will determine its own procedures, including when its work will begin.

McLean told GINA that the commission will meet this week, but he would not comment further.