As the first of a number of Commissions of Inquiry into the crime spree period gets underway, President David Granger is blasting Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo over his failure to conduct an inquiry or inquest into the assassination of one of his own Ministers.
“It is beyond belief that a President of a country could have one of his Cabinet Ministers assassinated and not hold an inquest, not hold an inquiry”, the President told reporters.
Mr. Jagdeo was President at the time when gunmen stormed the home of the then Agriculture Minister Satyadeow Sawh and shot him dead along with his two siblings and a security guard.
The incident took place in 2006 during the crime spree period under the Jagdeo presidency.
Jagdeo remained President until 2011, but there was never a detailed and independent probe into the assassination and murders, even after relatives of the Minister demanded a more detailed probe.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday at State House, President Granger brushed aside Mr. Jagdeo’s statements that the Commissions of Inquiry could polarize Guyana.
The President said it is Jagdeo and the criminal network that flourished under his presidency, that polarized Guyana.
“What has polarized the nation is the killings, the troubles, the death squads, the use of Ministers to sign permission using state letterheads, for people to get equipment. That is what polarized the nation, the role of the Government under President Jagdeo, polarized this nation more than anything else in our history”, President Granger affirmed.
He said he is pleased to read that Mr. Jagdeo has indicated that he knows what took place during the crime spree. The President hopes the Opposition Leader appears before the Commission to offer information.
In a statement earlier this week, the Opposition Leader said he is making himself available to the government to provide an input in the crafting of the Terms of Reference for the Commissions.
However, he noted that “this is providing that the Coalition Government is interested in ensuring that such an issue is dealt with in a bi-partisan manner.”
According to Jagdeo, “I maintain that once a Commission is credibly constituted it will be supported by the PPP/C. In the meantime, I am of the view that our people must not be distracted by this, more so as the acts of corruption, failures and incompetence under the Coalition Government continue to be exposed by the political Opposition.”
The first Commission of Inquiry to probe the crime spree period was constituted yesterday. It will examine the Lindo Creek massacre, with former Judge, Donald Trotman serving as the lone Commissioner. The PPP has already criticized that move, pointing out that the retired Judge is the father of a current Government Minister.