Gov’t to release findings of probe into allegations against CANU -Ramjattan

The report of the inquiry into the allegations made against officials of the Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU) by self-confessed drug lord, Barry Dataram has not yet reached cabinet and Minister of Home Affairs Khemraj Ramjattan yesterday assured that government does plan to make it public.

The report was handed over to Minister of State Joseph Harmon last Friday and questions have been raised as to why there is a delay in making the conclusions public given the seriousness of the allegations that were levelled against CANU officials.

Ramjattan told Stabroek News that he does have the report but is yet to go through the document which is the end result of a probe conducted by Brigadier Bruce Lovell. He said the government does want the report to be made public and this will be done eventually.

Barry Dataram
Barry Dataram

Meanwhile, sources close to CANU say the agency has nothing to fear and “they hope that the contents of the report would be made public soon in the interest of transparency”.

Lovell in brief comments at the handing over ceremony done at the Ministry of the Presidency, said that the allegations made by Dataram against officials of the State are of a very serious nature and as such it was incumbent on the Government to carry out a probe, which he completed in  two months.

“I am positive that the Government will find favour with the recommendations as well as the conclusions and take the appropriate actions,” he said.

In addition to Ramjattan a copy of the report is to be handed over to the president.

Ramjattan has already said publicly that he does not believe the claims. “I disbelieve all of them but that’s my opinion. It’s like Pablo Escobar saying that the Drug Enforcement Agency is not a good thing because, of course, he has interests. But indeed we have to pay attention to what was said, to clear it up and I want to believe that an inquiry would be the best way to deal with it,” Ramjattan said

Ramjattan said that he believes that the self-confessed drug lord was attempting to besmirch the country’s anti-narcotics drug agency due to the current charges against him.

“I have an opinion on it and it’s because there is a certain charge that is right now going on, he probably feels that it is about time to tarnish the CANU officials. But we are going to have an inquiry and I hope that the inquiry is going to bring out the truth,” he said.

He added that when such toxic allegations befall any disciplined force, it lowers the morale of the members. “That is what rocks your policing agency when the tarnishing, damaging comes and in this way it breaks the foundation of it. It kills and frustrates the officers and especially coming from fellows who are self-confessed drug dealers,” he asserted.

He said that he believes that those fingered will be exonerated and will leave it to the course of justice to prove otherwise.

Dataram made startling revelations in February against Guyana’s premier drug fighting agency.

During an interview with HGPTV Channel 67’s Nightly News he accused a high ranking CANU official of being involved in the drug trade and added that the official would take as much as $10 million to allow cocaine to leave the country.

He also said that drug lords would pay $5 million before the shipment and the remainder afterward.

Dataram also alleged that the majority of the drugs seized by CANU returns to the streets. He said that he knew of this because of his involvement and his friends’ involvement in the trade.

CANU’s head James Singh subsequently denied the allegations and called on Dataram to provide sworn statements for past and ongoing investigations.

Singh, in a press release in response to the allegations, suggested a link between Dataram’s allegations and what it considered to be his “unease” over the commencement of his trial for the alleged possession of a large quantity of cocaine that was found concealed in shrimp at his Diamond house.

Dataram, his wife and two friends, who were held during a raid of the Diamond Housing Scheme property, are charged with possession of 284 pounds of cocaine for trafficking.

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