Alleged drug lords and money launderers are openly flaunting extravagant lifestyles without fear of investigation under the PPP/C government, the PNCR charged yesterday in response to a scathing attack on the opposition by the ruling party’s General Secretary Clement Rohee on Monday.
Rohee had charged that the opposition’s non-support to date of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) (Amendment) Bill was a result of it seeking to protect drug lords and money launderers. He however provided no proof to back his statement when asked by reporters.
Yesterday, the PNCR fired back. It charged that the PPP/C had grievously failed to address the country’s most pressing problems – the public security crisis. It charged that the party had not accepted responsibility for the high rate of armed robberies, murderous maritime piracy, gun-running, trafficking in persons, contraband smuggling, drug-trafficking and other serious crimes.
The PNCR said it therefore views the remarks by Rohee as “scandalous and irresponsible” and an attempt by the party to run away from its dismal record in law enforcement and public safety.
“Instead of engaging in slander, the PPP must say why (since 2000), when the Money Laundering Prevention Act was passed, no arrest has been made; no assets of Drug Lords or Money Launderers seized. The Financial Intelligence Unit has failed to conduct any investigations leading to arrest and no substantive reports have been laid by that unit in the National Assembly.
“Alleged Drug Lords and Money Launderers openly flaunt extravagant lifestyles – multiple luxury cars, billion dollar real property without fear of investigation by the Guyana Revenue Authority or the FIU. Many high ranking Government officials and executive members of the PPP live lavish lifestyles and are the owners of multiple property worth several hundred times their annual public servant salaries and emoluments, yet their `overnight’ – new-found wealth triggers no investigations”, the PNCR charged.
With its seven-year tenure from 1957-1964 and its current reign, the PNCR said that the PPP has now held executive power for 28 years.
“The PPP over that time has impaired regulatory and law enforcement agencies – such as the Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Guyana Energy Agency – by depriving them of adequate assets and financing to such an extent as to diminish their capability to function effectively. These are facts, not slander!” the PNCR declared.
Rohee had also said at the press conference that “the opposition parties in the National Assembly are protecting the vested interests of a few whose operations, perhaps survival, will be affected if the bill is passed. These persons obviously are person engaged in illicit activities including trading and trafficking in drugs, arms, ammunition and who need to launder the proceeds of their ill-gotten gains”.
In the press statement he read, Rohee said that the PPP/C was positive that the opposition had ties to criminal elements. This allegation has frequently been made by the PPP but no investigations or prosecutions have resulted.