Weapons handed over by the GDF to then ruling PNC in 1979 pose a security threat to the country, according to Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee.
In a statement last evening, Rohee was responding to revelations emanating from the Commission of Inquiry into the death of historian Dr Walter Rodney.
A GDF officer has been testifying about the numbers of weapons that were handed out to the Ministry of National Development and others.
In his statement, Rohee voiced “utmost dismay and distress” at the revelations on the amount of firearms that were shared to the Ministry of National Development on August 10, 1979, and which to date cannot be accounted for.
The ministry said that according to evidence provided by the Officer-in-Charge of the “G2” Branch of the Guyana Defence Force, the firearms were issued to the Ministry of National Development, “comrades” Skeete and R. Corbin. He said that over one hundred and fifty of these guns were not returned to the Guyana Defence Force (GDF).
Rohee pointed out that among the firearms issued to these two “comrades” were:
One hundred M10 Browning Pistols, fifteen M70 rifles, five (M72 Light Machine Guns, sixteen Smith and Wesson Pistols, four HK11 Light Machine Guns, fourteen G3 Rifles, four General Purpose Machine Guns, forty Beretta Sub-Machine Guns, thirty-three SLR Rifles, six .22 Pistols, six .30 Carbon Pistols, six .33 Rifles and one hundred and seventy-nine 9MM rounds were issued
“As the Minister responsible for Public Safety and Security, this astounding revelation has brought about an interesting but diabolical turn of events surrounding the assassination of Dr Walter Rodney. Further, the revelation places in jeopardy the internal security of our 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”, Rohee declared.
In relation to the Mahaicony case of 2008, he said that the ballistics test of the said firearms showed that they were part of the set handed over to the Ministry of National Development, and “Comrades” Skeete and Corbin, but which ended up in the hands of criminals.
“That particular crime perpetrated by a criminal gang with the use of some of the missing weapons clearly demonstrated the link with past to the present and provided incontrovertible evidence of the use of the missing firearms belonging to the GDF” by criminal elements, Rohee said.
Rohee argued that it is now clear that the missing firearms were consigned to criminals who used them to unleash a wave of terror in our country which he said Opposition Leader David Granger so cynically described as the “troubled period”.
Rohee said that what was troubling and dangerous is the fact that some of these firearms are in the hands of unknown persons who most likely are not licensed to bear them.
“To think about what they can be used for is not only scary but life threatening and a serious threat to public safety and security”, Rohee said.
Rohee added that the claim by Granger that guns are “pouring across our borders” must now be examined against the knowledge of the missing GDF firearms.
Rohee called on Granger who is also the Leader of the PNCR to reveal the truth to the Nation about the missing firearms.
Observers have noted that the PPP/C government has had over 20 years to discover the truth about missing weapons from the GDF, most recently in 2008, but did nothing about it. The PPP/C government has been accused of using the Rodney Commission of Inquiry for propaganda purposes.