A statement by the Hon. Ronald Gajraj, MP, Minister of Home Affairs
May 7, 2004
The Following is a statement by the Hon. Ronald Gajraj, MP, Minister of Home Affairs in reaction to allegations of his participation in or knowledge of activities of an alleged death squad.
Georgetown, GINA, Friday, May 7, 2004.
Since my appointment as the Minister of Home Affairs, I have discharged the functions of my office with dedication, commitment, honesty and pride. Being a member of this Government demands hard work and responsiveness to the daily challenges in service to our nation. I have had to make sacrifices, which have affected my family. The same could be said of my fellow Cabinet colleagues. Notwithstanding the sacrifices and personal attacks against me, I have always felt a deep sense of pride to serve my country and people.
I have never shirked from my duty as the political head of a Ministry charged with overseeing the internal safety and security of the people of Guyana. Specifically, protecting them from the bandits, murderous criminals and their handlers who seek to deprive our citizens of not only their property, but also their sense of security, dignity and even life. I have, without regret, endured many sleepless nights in fulfilling my duties to the people of Guyana to make our streets and villages safer. It would be an injustice to the people of Guyana to serve as the Minister of Home Affairs without doing all that may be necessary within the confines of the law in carrying out the tremendous task at hand, particularly in confronting the organized and seemingly politically motivated crime wave of 2002/2003 period.
I wish once again to commiserate with all the victims of the crime wave. If there were anything else within my power, abilities and the laws of our country that could have been done to prevent the criminal madness, I would have done so without hesitation. I make no apology for this. I wish also to salute the bravery of the members of the Guyana Police Force, other security ranks and members of Community Policing Groups who fearlessly confronted the well-armed and dangerous criminals. I share with the mothers, wives and children the loss and grief of those brave policemen and innocent civilians who fell to the guns of the criminals. The battle to rid our society of the criminals and crime goes on!
Earlier this year, a number of allegations seeking to implicate me in certain unlawful activities was made. These baseless allegations have been given much political `spinning’ by certain media entities known for their hostility to the Government and their sympathies for the Opposition. The PNCR and others are using those media allegations as the basis for a nasty campaign orchestrated against me and my family. Sections of the media and certain politicians in the opposition have already arrived at conclusions based on speculations, suspicions and conjecture. Not a single statement has been given to the Guyana Police Force by anyone who claims to be in possession of relevant `information /intelligence.’
I have always maintained that the allegations made against me are false, malicious and calculated. Generally, I have ignored these allegations given their heavy political undertones and sensationalism. My seeming silence or lack of strident public defence ought not to have suggested guilt or unwillingness to confront these claims. Neither have I sought to influence nor interfere in any efforts or attempts by the Guyana Police Force to investigate these false allegations. In fact, I have advocated the need for an active investigation and probe of these allegations.
I wish to thank the President and the entire Cabinet for their unwavering support and confidence in me in the face of a vicious campaign. I have full confidence in our President and Government resolve to fulfill our mandate to the people of Guyana. The support and goodwill that I have received from Guyanese of all ethnic, political and religious background has been overwhelming and has afforded me much strength and determination over the past months. Even though my family, relatives and friends have been adversely affected by the vicious campaign being waged against me, their support, has been unquestionable and beyond expectation. I would like to thank them most sincerely.
I wish to declare categorically: I have never acted contrary to the laws of Guyana. I have always conducted myself consistent with the powers vested in me by the Constitution of Guyana.
It was my hope that those who claim to have information to support the allegations, would have by now presented statements and evidence to the only competent authority to investigate such matters - the Guyana Police Force. I had expected that an investigation would have been carried out so that the truth could have been revealed to the Guyanese people. Instead, no such statement was made or evidence provided, thus the Police were unable to mount any investigation.
I am no longer prepared to allow my integrity and commitment to the laws of Guyana to be the subject of a trial in sections of the media and at opposition political meetings. If the claim that my presence in the office of the Minister of Home Affairs is forestalling any investigation or probe, then I am willing even to entertain such a weak argument to end this campaign of smear against me and thwart a concerted campaign to bring the entire Government into disrepute. I am interested in a speedy, fair and impartial investigation so that the people of Guyana can know the truth. The truth that I Ronald Gajraj am not guilty of those scandalous allegations.
I have therefore requested of His Excellency, the President to have mechanism put in place for a fair and impartial inquiry to be done. I am prepared to proceed on leave upon such mechanism being put in place to facilitate a fair and impartial inquiry and to allay fears of interference with the process that warped and corrupt minds may harbour.
The truth and rule of law will prevail! I thank you.