Thursday, June 17, 2004

Gya: Death squad tennis

Death squad informant George Bacchus says he was offered a bribe and safe passage out of the country to recant allegations he had made against Home Affairs Minister Ronald Gajraj who he implicated in the activities of a death squad.

Bacchus yesterday contacted Stabroek News, denying claims by PPP Member of Parliament (MP) Shirley Edwards who claimed he retracted allegations he first made at the start of the year.

Bacchus admits that he did retract the allegations in an interview which is yet to be broadcasted, but he still stands by statements he made earlier in the year against the minister who he says helped organise the killings.

In January, after his brother was murdered in a driveby shooting, Bacchus publicly admitted that he once used his own money to locate criminals for a group which executed several wanted men.

He also alleged that the minister sanctioned the men's activities and implicated several senior policemen and prominent businessmen, who provided the group with financial and tactical support.

But in a statement to the press on Monday, Edwards said Bacchus, who is her neighbour, approached her and indicated his desire to retract the allegations he made about the minister.

"According to him, he knew that [Minister] Gajraj was neither in nor responsible for any death squads... But he was angry that when he told Minister Gajraj, who were responsible for the killing of his brother, the minister, he claims, did not act promptly," the press statement quoted her as saying.

Bacchus has publicly stated that he contacted the minister on the night his brother was killed and identified the suspects and this has been confirmed by the minister.

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