February 25, 2018

APNU/AFC Govt using CoI as a tool for political harassment

Dear Editor,
The PNC-led APNU regime has announced its intention to set up another Commission of Inquiry (CoI). This time, it is to ‘probe’ the killings of mainly criminals, which took place during the crime waves of the more recent past.
Included in that period was the assassination of Sash Shaw, former Minister of the PPP/C Government. The regime obviously has some plans to use this for some political gains in a Hitlerite tactic to create conditions for its actions of repression. Remember Adolf Hitler had the Parliament burnt down to unleash repression on the left and democratic forces, mainly communists, in Germany just before World War II?
We saw this APNU regime applying the CoI method to clean out the professional leaders of the Police Force. The intention is to control the Force by putting persons who would take PNC/APNU diktat. In a word, it is the beginning of the de-professionalization of the Police Force; it is being prepared to be repressive.
One of the outcomes that this regime is looking for is the excuse to harass and frame PPP/C leaders and members. It is also to distort that period, and to hide its own role in the crime waves that we had experienced at the beginning of this century.
It is for another reason, too: they want to use this to promote their own racial line about the killings of ‘young black men’. This is because they have recognized the great dissatisfaction among all our people, including among Afro-Guyanese, where they draw most of their support.
The APNU+AFC stewardship has led to a lot of sufferings of all our people, particularly the low income category. Pushing the racial line to feed racial sentiments in our Afro-Guyanese masses serves to call on them for racial solidarity, and to ignore the pressure they are coming under from this incompetent and corrupt regime.
That is the only logical conclusion to which one can arrive when the realities of our country are examined dispassionately.
If, for instance, they were really interested in finding the truth of any matter, they would not have closed down the Rodney Commission of Inquiry as one of their first acts after taking power. Indeed, they were afraid of being summoned to give evidence to that CoI. After all, Minister Harmon was the number two man in the military intelligence, and President Granger was the Commander of the GDF at the time of Rodney’s assassination.
Secondly, we know that the PNC — which is the main, almost the only, force in the APNU — historically has used crimes to pursue its political goals. The X13 Plan of the 1960s (1963 to 1964) was an early manifestation of this.
Moreover, documents released from the US State Department and the British Foreign Office show that the British Governor Ralph Grey and the US representative here at the time, Carlson, were preparing to find ways to prevent charges from being laid against Forbes Burnham should he be investigated and found culpable. They managed to suppress things before they reached that stage.
Fast forward to more recent times, and it is clear that the PNC, in the 1990s and onwards, was using criminal elements to sabotage the work of the PPP/C Administration. We had arson of ministries, of schools, and of other government buildings.
Whenever there was a spike in crime, the hands of the PNC could be detected in fanning the flames of violence. The Linden (Blackie) London period, for instance, showed that London was getting support from the PNC.
Recall, too, that when he perished in confrontation with the Police, the PNC did its best (or worst) to try to incense people by mainly pushing a racial line. PNC equipment and stage were used in organizing London’s funeral. It was attended by the then Leader of the PNC, Desmond Hoyte, and many other leaders of the Party, some of whom are Ministers today.
It has also been said publicly that when the five dangerous criminals escaped on February 23, 2002, they first went into Congress Place to hide. They managed to get into the PNC band, which did not go into the National Park, but turned away at Duncan Street and went into the PNC Head Office compound.
Another important point to ponder is: where did the criminals get the high-powered weapons to create the carnage that they did? No armory of the Army or Police was broken into, yet the criminals had high powered military weapons and seemingly endless bullets.
Of interest would be the roles of now Minister Winston Felix and Mr. Edward Collins, respectively Police Commissioner and Head of the Army in that period. It is now clear why the criminals could have committed all sorts of crimes and live freely, even though the Army had established a base in Buxton.
We recall that the criminals had left Buxton and attacked Rose Hall Town, where the PPP was holding its Congress. They killed several persons in that town, using chainsaws to cut openings. Balram Khanai, a young PPP militant from Essequibo, was murdered there. They went back into Buxton without the Army and Police seeing anything. Felix and Collins were the senior persons in those bodies at the time.
Minister Basil Williams and at that time Police Commissioner Winston Felix have never given an explanation to their now public conversation, wherein Williams, Chairman of the PNC, thanked Felix, the then Commissioner of Police, for diverting attention from the PNC when the Fine Man Gang murdered eight (8) persons at Eccles, East Bank Demerara. Felix had admitted that he did turn things away.
In relation to Sash Sawh, we know that he was murdered by the Fine Man Gang. Some of his property was found with gang members when they were stopped by the Police.
The time that he was brutally murdered coincided with the period when we were going to the elections in 2006. It was clear that the intellectual authors wanted to drive fear in the PPP before the elections. However, that backfired on them.
Make no mistake, Sash is a martyr who fell in the fight for consolidating democracy and social progress.
Clearly, therefore, the APNU cannot really want to find the truth. What they are doing is trying to distort the truth and use any CoI that they would set up as a tool for political harassment. This is a well-known Hitlerite tactic!
Yes, we are about to witness another fraud in the form of CoI by this regime.

Donald Ramotar
Former President