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Guyana Says Inquiry May Await Returning Drug Lord

Guyana Chronicle:-  IT is more than likely that convicted drug lord, Shaheed Roger Khan, who is expected back in Guyana by July 2019, will be investigated for criminal activities done locally. This was related by Minister of Public Security, Kemraj Ramjattan, at a recent meeting in Lethem.

Residents were expressing fear as to what may transpire in the country upon Khan’s arrival – some reminiscing on the dark days of drugs, murders and extra-judicial killings.

Ramjattan said that he is cognisant of the fear that is being permeated as the time is drawing near, and would have preferred for the U.S Government to not give Khan a remission in his sentence. While some of the crimes under Khan’s criminal escapade are publicly known, Ramjattan said that one of the shortcomings in having him prosecuted is the absence of written statements and evidence given under oath. “Guyanese do not want to come forward to make statements, they don’t want to come forward to make the case; we can have so many people who themselves will make the complaints, but when asked to give written statements, they don’t come forward,” Ramjattan told the residents.

While expressing confidence that the situation may be different this time around, the minister said he will be allowing due process to take its course. “There are a number of gruesome things that happened during that period of time, but I am allowing due process to take its course; namely the commissioner of police and other police from the criminal division, they will certainly take it from there,” he said. Whatever is done, Ramjattan assured concerned residents that a lawless state will not prevail.

President David Granger has referred to the Roger Khan-era as the “Troubles”; a period presided over by the Bharrat Jagdeo administration. The President said it was the “darkest hour” that was characterised by drug-driven chaos and bloodshed. Jagdeo was President of Guyana from August 11, 1999 to December 3, 2011, during which there were three massacres: Lusignan, where 11 people were killed; Bartica, where another 12 were killed, and Lindo Creek, where seven miners were slaughtered. Besides, there were countless extra-judicial killings – with some activists estimating that around 400 Afro Guyanese males were gunned down.

Back in 2003-2006, Khan had set up a criminal network here including active policemen and a number of former ranks, ostensibly to go after criminals, but at the same time, protecting his narco-trafficking interests. He was nabbed in neighbouring Suriname in 2006 while fleeing local police, and was later handed over to U.S. authorities. Although the PPP government had sought to distance itself from Khan, the drug-trafficker had stated publicly, in an advertisement in local newspapers, that he had been fighting crime on behalf of the Bharrat Jagdeo-led government. Khan had also implicated former Health Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy in his escapades, and documents bearing the then minister’s signature authorising the purchase of a sophisticated wire-tapping device, were produced in the U.S. courts during Khan’s trial.

However, at his weekly press conference on Thursday, Jagdeo, now opposition leader, sought to wash his hands clean of the crimes committed by Khan, contending that his government had nothing to do with the drug lord. “The PPP had absolutely nothing to do with Roger Khan,” the opposition leader declared. He said once there is supporting evidence, the State should take the necessary steps to bring Khan to justice. “If he is released and he did crime in Guyana, he must face the consequences too. We are not afraid of that,” Jagdeo told reporters.

Trying to deny Khan’s claims that he fought crime for his government, Jagdeo said he had the Guyana Police Force, the Guyana Defence Force and the Joint Services on his side. “We don’t need 20 or 100 phantoms when we had men who were authorised to carry, and empowered by our laws and constitution to fight bandits,” Jagdeo stressed.

Although evidence submitted in a US court had linked his minister, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy to Khan, the opposition leader again denied any connection, saying: “That has never been proven with official testimony. That has never been proven. Leslie Ramsammy said he never did.”

Former President Bharrat Jagdeo was quoted in the media as saying that he had nothing to do with the convicted drug lord; he is not afraid of his release and is in agreement for an investigation to be launched into crimes he allegedly committed in Guyana.

Khan was captured in Suriname on June 15th, 2006 and was convicted and jailed in 2009 for drug trafficking. Khan was also linked to Colombian narco traffickers, terrorism, murders and other high-profile cases. He first caught the public’s attention when he was arrested by police and soldiers at Good Hope Public Road, East Coast Demerara, in a bullet-proof vehicle with high-powered weapons and cellular phone interception and triangulation/location equipment.

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