Jagdeo worried that JFK terror plot would be `big black eye’ for Guyana – cable

President Bharrat Jagdeo was worried that the 2007 JFK International Airport terror plot arrests would be a “big, black eye” for Guyana and he told Washington he was prepared to have suspects extradited to the US.
In a June 4th, 2007 cable to Washington released by WikiLeaks, then US Ambassador David Robinson said that in dialogue with him, Jagdeo had greeted the news of the arrests of the Guyanese with “emotions ranging from defensiveness, to apprehension, to contrition”.

Abdul Kadir (left) and an artist's rendering of Russell Defreitas
Abdul Kadir (left) and an artist's rendering of Russell Defreitas

Guyanese Russell Defreitas and former PNCR MP Abdul Kadir were sentenced by a New York court to life imprisonment in the matter earlier this year and last year. Another Guyanese, Abdel Nur was jailed for 15 years.
Robinson said that on learning of the plot arrests, “President Jagdeo initiated an on-going dialogue with the Ambassador, pledging Guyana’s support and offering assistance in prosecuting the alleged terrorists.  Jagdeo initially welcomed news of the arrests, but later, as he watched the reports on CNN and Fox News unfold, he became concerned that this would be a `big, black eye for Guyana’ since Guyanese played a central role in the plot.  Jagdeo told the Ambassador that the GOG was committed to assisting the U.S. and he offered to extradite, if necessary, any of the Guyanese involved in the terrorist plot.”
Robinson noted that the government had issued a statement on June 2nd, 2007 distancing itself from the Guyanese involved in the incident, specifically pointing out that former PNCR Parliamentarian Abdul Kadir was not now or ever a Government of Guyana official.  To stress this point, Robinson noted that Minister of Home Affairs
Clement Rohee held a press conference during which he pronounced that Guyana is a partner in the fight against global terrorism and would cooperate with all countries in pursuit of this objective.
Robinson also told Washington that he met with Wazir Baksh, Leader of the Guyana Islamic Trust to convey to the group that the arrest of the JFK plotters was an action to protect the U.S. from terrorism, and in no way represented US action against Islam, “as had
been implied by some local news reports”.  Robinson reported Baksh as saying that terrorism is a violation of Islamic principals and
and that he condemned the plot.  Robinson said that Baksh  noted that Kadir was on the fringe of the local Islamic community and that Kadir’s actions in no way represented the mainstream of Guyanese Islam.
In his comment on the cable, Robinson said “It is clear from both Jagdeo’s response to the Ambassador, and the official GOG statement, that Guyana is concerned about the ramifications of having its citizens so closely involved in a planned U.S. terrorist attack. AFC leader Rapheal Trotman summed it up best, stating that “unfortunately, Guyana has once again achieved notoriety for something on the dark side.”   In order to counter this taint, the GOG went out of their way to both distance themselves from the alleged terrorists and to pledge support for the fight against terrorism.  Although the GOG is often careful not to seem too supportive of the U.S., they closed ranks on this issue.”

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