Guyana’s Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee who has been a Government Minister for all of the PPP Civic’s 22 years in office says he is distressed and dismayed by the revelations in the Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry about “the huge amount of firearms that were distributed to the Ministry of National Development on August 10, 1979, which to date cannot be accounted for”.
In a four page statement, Rohee said that as the Minister responsible for Public Safety and Security, the “astounding revelation has brought about an interesting but diabolical turn of events surrounding the assassination of Dr Walter Rodney”.
He said the revelation also places in jeopardy the internal security of the country since “no one knows for certainty in whose hands these missing firearms are, save for the capture of firearms at the crime scene at Mahaicony. Ballistics test of the said firearms showed that they were part of the missing firearms that were handed over to the Ministry of National Development”
According to evidence provided by the Officer-in-Charge of the “G2” Branch of the Guyana Defence Force, Over one hundred and fifty (150) guns that were issued to the Ministry of National Development three decades ago, were not returned to the Guyana Defence Force.
Without providing any evidence and without saying why his government that has been in power for 22 years is only now making the discovery, Rohee said “it is now clear that the missing firearms were handed to criminals who used them to unleash a wave of terror in our country which David Granger so cynically described as the troubled period”.
The Minister of Home Affairs used the opportunity to lash out at the Leader of the Opposition and Peoples National Congress, Retired Brigadier David Granger, for his many calls for the government to arrest the crime situation in the country. The PNC was the party in power at the time of the issuance of the firearms to the Ministry of National Development at a time when Guyana was facing serious border conflicts with Venezuela.
“It is important to recall that the noise and hullabaloo Mr. Granger stirred up pretending to be a Security Expert, a champion of the National Security interest of our country as well as a defender of public safety and security was a smokescreen to direct attention from this diabolical period administered by the PNC. The mask has now fallen from the faces of those who sought to hide behind these sordid events coloured by the placing of GDF Firearms in the hands of criminals to wreak havoc in our country”, Rohee said in his statement.
The Minister of Home Affairs said the claim by Mr. Granger that guns are “pouring across our borders” must now be weighed against the knowledge that “we now have about these missing GDF firearms in the possession of unknown persons and freely circulating in our society. These two ominous factors pose a danger too frightening to imagine”.
Rohee did not say what he now intends to do as the Minister responsible for public security and safety to ensure that the missing weapons are found and returned to the Guyana Defence Force, 35 years after their were issued.
The Opposition parties have expressed no confidence in Rohee as the Minister of Home Affairs.