Guyanese should read the WikiLeaks cables

Dear Editor,

The US Embassy cable of June 2007 is a humdinger, a big one. It is written by Chargé d‘Affaires Michael Thomas from the US Embassy. The cable claims Roger Luncheon called the US Chargé to the Office of the President on June 18, 2007. The Chargé claimed that he offered during the meeting to bring the DEA Country Attaché resident in Trinidad to Dr Luncheon’s office that very week, but that Dr Luncheon reportedly blurted out, “Whoa! I’m not going to talk to DEA!” The Chargé said he expressed confusion since Luncheon had only moments before asked for US cooperation. Luncheon then changed his position and accepted the offer.

Luncheon handed the US Chargé documents including a letter containing  allegations that Senior Superinten-dant Steve Merai attempted to extort money from a drug-dealer.  The principal point of the letter was a concern that Venezuelan-based Guyanese narco-trafficker Maxwell `Lunkie’ Melville was being aided to take control of Khan’s narco-trafficking empire. Now, this letter could have been written by anyone including one of the parties involved in the drug turf war and could be dismissed as speculative self-serving garbage. However, the fact that Dr Luncheon alleged-ly called the US Embassy official to his office to discuss this matter in person because he did not wish to discuss it over the phone signals that the letter posed a serious problem.

The embassy claims in its cable that Dr Luncheon stated that after the arrest of Roger Khan the second tier of drug traffickers was disorganized. Dr Luncheon allegedly suggested that ‘we,‘ which I suppose meant the Guyana Government and the US Government, should strike the drug traffickers now. Dr Luncheon then reputedly followed up that bang with a whimper when he allegedly said that while US cooperation with Suriname and Trinidad was strong, “Guyana’s constitutional and legal structures are inconvenient” for taking action against drug traffickers. Another case of total nonsense. The PPP since 1992 has controlled Parliament. It can pass any law it wants with its majority. It went to Parliament alone and passed the Freedom of Information Act. For President Jagdeo’s right-hand man to allegedly claim that the country’s legal and constitutional structures were a hindrance to destroying the scourge of narco-trafficking when his own PPP party owns the Parliament has to be one of the most extraordinary statements ever made. If the US cable was correct, this was another case of utter foolishness.

The US cable claims that in 2005 it offered to set up a vetted police unit to gather actionable intelligence but the Guyana government killed it. The cable claims that President Jagdeo allegedly told Ambassador Robinson that almost everyone knows who the major drug traffickers are in Guyana. Yet nothing was done to arrest, prosecute and target the assets of those individuals. If one knows allegedly who is committing crimes in a country and one has a mandate from the electorate to fight crime, why isn’t anything done to put those committing drug-trafficking crimes behind bars? The cable alleges that senior government officials socialise with notorious drug traffickers and the President participates in ribbon-cutting ceremonies opening businesses allegedly built with drug money. When I read this cable, the picture in this country of my birth and the place that I love with all my heart, became clearer. Clearer meaning more frightening. Every Guyanese should read those cables. The PPP will give them laptops with their tax money, but when they get them, they should go online and read the WikiLeaks cables. It will open their eyes to an entirely new world.

Yours faithfully,
M Maxwell

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