Gov’t sought ‘Mr.T’ over Ministry of Health fire – cable

Minister of Home Affairs, Clement Rohee wrote the US Department of Justice on November 19, 2009 following up a request for assistance in tracing a certain `Mr T’ who it was believed was behind the torching of the Ministry of Health building on July 17, 2009, according to a cable dispatched to Washington.

It had been known locally that Rohee had requested assistance from the US but the letter contained in the cable sent to Washington on November 20, 2009 provides more details.

There appeared to have been no breakthrough from the request to the US as the information was not detailed enough.

Rohee’s letter addressed to Jeffery Olson, Office          of International Affairs, Criminal Division, US Department of Justice was responding to one from Olson and appeared to be a follow-up to the original request for help.

In the November 17 letter, Rohee first apologised for providing an incorrect number to Olson for tracing.
“I do need to make a correction to the number which was provided in our communication under reference.

The telephone number for which we require the identity of the subscriber is 646-372-2397 and NOT 646-372-2379 as was quoted in our letter.  This error is regretted,”  Rohee said.

He then went on to lay out the scenario for the Americans as this apparently had not yet been done. He noted that the fire had occurred between 3am and 3.15 am on July 17 and calls had been made around that time to the US on a phone in the possession of one of the suspects.

It was the person in the US to whom the calls were placed that Guyana was interested in tracking and this person was referred to as `Mr T.’

The suspect was found in possession of telephone number 682-4698. Rohee said   that “Further investigation revealed that a call was made at 0306 hours and one at 0308 hours on July 17, 2009 from that cellular phone to telephone number 646-372-2397 and that these calls were made from a location within close proximity to the scene of the arson.”

Rohee further related that two of the persons charged have confessed that they were hired by the person in possession of the number 682-4698 to participate in the arson.

“The Guyana Police Force has intelligence of (suspect’s) involvement with a group of Guyanese nationals that commit crimes with intent to cause mayhem in the society and that specifically target Government entities and personnel.

Several members of that group are currently on trial in courts in Guyana for Murder, Advocating a Terrorist Act, Robbery under Arms and other offences.

“The Police are also in receipt of information that the group receives some funding, firearms and direction (from) a Guyanese-born male living in New York, USA who is referred to as ‘Mr T‘ and whose telephone number is 646-372-2397.

“The Government of Guyana appreciates the prompt attention being given to this matter by the United States Department of Justice,” Rohee added.

It is unclear why it took the Guyana Government months before formally asking the US for information on the person to whom the calls were made as the phone records in question would have been available much earlier.

In August last year, Crime Chief Seelall Persaud had said that there was no word from the US on the request for help.

Several persons remain before the court in connnection with this matter.

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