PPP/C presidential candidate Donald Ramotar does not believe that the contents of the recently released Wikileaks cables will negatively impact on his presidential bid, since nothing “earth-shattering” has been revealed.
“I don’t see anything earth-shattering in them that could change the outcome of things,” Ramotar told this newspaper yesterday. “I don’t see anything serious. In fact, I am slightly amused,” he added. He was questioned on whether he felt the revelations in Wikileaks would have a negative impact on his campaign.
While saying that the cables made “good reading” since they indicate how the US officials think, Ramotar opined that the cables were filled with inaccuracies and contained “poor readings” of the local situation.
Several of the cables have revealed concerns by locally based US officials on actions by the government and its failure to adequately fight against the narco trade. Some cables pointed to ties between the government and convicted drug trafficker Roger Khan.
According to Ramotar there was a lot of “speculation” when it came to the government’s ties with Khan. He said that what was contained in the cables was nothing “new” since what was released had been “rumoured” before.
A recently released cable indicated that then US Am-bassador to Guyana Roland Bullen in 2006 considered the Guyana Government so compromised by Roger Khan that he told Washington nothing would be done about him and the envoy cited the drug lord and a former official of the government as being instrumental in the infamous phantom squad.
Similar concerns had been expressed locally, and testimony in the witness tampering case against Khan’s attorney Robert Simels appeared to corroborate these events. The government, however, has denied being aware that Khan was involved in drug trafficking and the phantom squad. The administration has also rejected calls by the opposition for an independent probe to be conducted into the activities of Khan here. Since the cables were released, APNU presidential candidate David Granger said that nothing less than a judicial inquiry would put the allegations being raised to rest. According to Granger, the new details are “the most significant evidence” of the government’s “complicity” with criminal interests that were responsible for many deaths.
Meanwhile, Ramotar questioned where some of the information in the cables came from. “Some of these things are really weird,” he said. He pointed to one cable which identified the possibility of President Bharrat Jagdeo dismissing Dr Roger Luncheon from his cabinet. Ramotar said that as far as he is aware, this had never been considered at any level of the party.
Concerning the cable which captured former US Charge d’Affaires Karen Williams’s view of President Jagdeo’s ties with Iran, Ramotar said that this should be seen as government trying to do what is best for the nation. “We’re a sovereign state that has to do what is best for our country,” Ramotar noted. He said that while Guyana would have to look at the interests of other countries the government’s “primary responsibility is to our people,” he said.
Williams opined that Jagdeo’s dealings with Iran signified a new willingness to alienate the US and to align himself with anyone who could provide money, preferably without strings.