-dossier on government’s human rights abuses nears completion
Rejecting President Bharrat Jagdeo’s position that the police force is the sole authority to investigate his administration’s alleged links with drug trafficker Roger Khan, AFC Chairman Khemraj Ramjattan has said an international probe would offer a “non-partisan” solution.
“I do not have faith in the police force,” Ramjattan explained on Thursday, “because of the fact that they haven’t acted.”
President Jagdeo also maintained that an investigation into the allegations of a link between his administration and Khan’s activities here, including the illegal surveillance of officials as well as numerous murders, is the sole purview of the local police force. He also said that he directed the police force to seek information from the US, where Khan pleaded guilty to cocaine trafficking and other charges.
Ramjattan said the opposition wants an investigation as early as possible but given the range of allegations, which include the complicity of cabinet members, he emphasised that a non-partisan body is essential.
He also disclosed that the joint opposition is nearing completion of a dossier cataloguing the government’s human rights abuses, including extra-judicial killings, torture and complicity with known organised crime gangs and narco-traffickers and the resulting corruption. The dossier, upon completion, will be submitted to local, regional and international bodies, including the courts with the appropriate jurisdiction and the public.
Meanwhile, Ramjattan said that the joint opposition has been successful in communicating to the citizenry the wrongdoing that has taken place since 2002, and in particular the relationship between the government and narcotics traffickers. He said the dossier would aid in internationalising the issue, and justify the call for an international inquiry. “It is not the numbers that matter,” he said, “The fact that you might not have massive demonstrations, [and] massive outrage being portrayed doesn’t necessarily mean that our communication to the public has been unsuccessful.” When asked what the parties would do if the dossier failed to yield the desired result, he said, “There’s nothing else we can do, absolutely nothing else we can do,” while recalling the PPP’s attempt to bring rigged elections to international attention.
Ramjattan posited that people seemed to be numbed by the political situation and despite the recognition of wrongdoing they are unwilling to protest, an option that itself is tactically dangerous. Ramjattan said the party was satisfied with the ongoing peaceful protests that have been staged. “We don’t want to go and burn down the town and have revolution and rebellion; that is not what we are involved in,” he said, adding, “We are going to communicate and people’s minds will change, that is the backing in a democracy, changing people’s minds.”