General Secretary of the PPP and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, today declared that late PPP Minister of Home Affairs, Ronald Gajraj was a patriot and an effective Minister.
It was under Jagdeo’s Presidency that Gajraj came under the microscope for allegedly spearheading a phantom death squad that is believed to have been responsible for the murders of hundreds of Guyanese, including wanted men.
At his weekly press conference today, Mr. Jagdeo sought to criticise the sympathy motion for late Former Member of Parliament Abdul Kadir, who died in a US jail where he was serving a life sentence for a terrorism conspiracy conviction.
Jagdeo said he has noticed that some members of the Government in trying to defend the motion, which has been criticised by the international community, have sought to equate the motion for Kadir to a moment of silence in the same Parliament for Ronald Gajraj.
Jagdeo said the two cannot be compared.
It was Jagdeo who fired Gajraj as Home Affairs Minister and dispatched him to India as the High Commissioner there following the explosive revelations about his alleged knowledge about the operations of a death squad that lent support to the then government.
Jagdeo today said Mr. Gajraj was never convicted of anything and was in fact a “patriot” and “an effective Minister” who got things done.
He said it was only the then opposition People’s National Congress that accused Gajraj of any wrong doing.
In leaked cables on wikileaks betweent he US government and the US Embassy in Georgetown, the Embassy indicated that at the time, now convicted drug trafficker Roger Khan “did enjoy political protection from GoG officials at the highest levels. At a minimum, former Home Affairs Minister Ronald Gajraj and long-time Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr. Roger Luncheon collaborated with Khan”.
In the same leaks, the US Embassy reported to Washington that Gajraj, who became Guyana’s High Commissioner to India, “orchestrated Guyana’s “death squads” in 2002-03 — certainly in close collaboration with Khan. Luncheon (President Jagdeo’s deputy) is known to have intervened and ordered the authorities to release Khan and return his equipment”.