Friday, April 16, 2004

Gya: So will he really participate in an investigation to clear his name?

Minister of Home Affairs Ronald Gajraj has angrily rejected what he calls baseless and outrageous allegations linking him to a death squad formed to kill criminals.

At the end of his budget debate presentation yesterday, Gajraj launched into an attack against the absent PNCR MPs and the media which had persons standing outside the Ocean View Convention Centre running to the door to see what the commotion was all about.

Gajraj said he did not believe in the concept of death squads, which he said had a tendency to become Frankensteins. "I have always conducted myself consistent with the law. As Minister of Home Affairs I did what I felt I had to do within the confines of the law. If the criminals want to confront the police and use firepower then the police will not stand with their hands tied behind their backs."

Gajraj described the efforts of the PNCR to have the death squad allegation investigated as nothing but cheap publicity. "All the allegations are baseless and false. Hopefully the matter will be ventilated and investigated," he added.

He said the allegations had given rise to speculation "on the basis of which the PNCR is making preposterous demands." He said the PNCR is making no effort to have the matter investigated by the competent agency, the Guyana Police Force. He also lashed out at some sections of the media, saying that they used the allegations being peddled to sell their newspapers. "Some of the media practitioners will sell their own mother!" he declared mentioning Stabroek News.

The allegations that Gajraj had links to the death squad have come from George Bacchus who claims to be an ex-informant for the group. Gajraj admits having spoken to Bacchus. Telephone records show Gajraj had several contacts with Axel Williams, a key member of the squad who was linked by eyewitnesses to several murders, prior to his own death in December. Gajraj admits he did speak to Williams but for the purpose of gathering information. Gajraj and former Police Commissioner Floyd McDonald also approved an upgraded gun licence for Williams despite the ex-cop having killed a food vendor in 2002.

Gajraj alleged that it was the PNCR that had links to criminals and related an incident where, he said, a criminal was found to have the phone number of a PNCR senior member.

In his speech, Gajraj said a feeling of security is once again returning to Guyana, attributing this to the dedication of the men and women of the Guyana Police Force.
The joke is that the citizens are afraid to talk to the Guyana Police Force because of their alleged corruption.

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