“Most people in Guyana believe that our Government is beleaguered by its own incompetence and that it constantly seeks distraction and that may be true. One of the ways they believe that the Government has been distracting public attention from the real problems in Guyana is through the establishment of the Commissions of Inquiry (CoIs) in a never-ending manner and on every single thing under the sun,” Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo said.
Jagdeo levelled those accusations at a press conference held at his Church Street office on Friday.
He said that the CoIs were a monetary vehicle for people who often were sympathetic to the Government to be given huge sums of money to do work that may seem important. He added that in reality they were just given large pay cheques to “waste time”.
The Opposition Leader alluded to the recently-established CoI into the alleged claim that Andrif Gillard was offered $7 million by businessman Nizam Khan to assassinate President David Granger. The CoI, which commenced on July 11, will seek to: inquire into persons, places, time and circumstances and events by and through which allegations and reports came to be made of an intention to assassinate the President; investigate the full range of the actions and responses of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) to the reports and the extent to which such actions were conducted or executed with due diligence; determine whether any person, and in particular, officers of the GPF had information before and after reports were made of a plan to assassinate the President and whether any such officers communicated that information to a superior authority.
Commissioners will also record and report on what official action was taken on the basis of the information received and whether there was due diligence by the officers of the GPF in the investigation of the alleged plan to assassinate the President and determine whether there was failure, neglect or omission to thoroughly and properly investigate the plan to assassinate the President and determine whether such failure or omission was intentional.
The Commissioners will seek to also determine the blameworthiness for the failure or neglect of officers or persons involved in the investigation and recommend action to be taken against persons found to be blameworthy.
They will also recommend steps that can be taken to prevent the recurrence of such an incident and identify systemic issues, if any, in the GPF’s competence to investigate matters of this nature.
Jagdeo on Friday noted that while the country was going through one of the biggest security crises, as it related to the recent Georgetown Prison fire and jailbreak and the subsequent breakout from the pasture enclosure at Lusignan Prison, the Government seems totally oblivious and continues establishing CoIs.
“We are in the middle of this crisis at the national level, yet this Government has seen it fit at this point in time when you have a number of prisoners who have escaped, when the safety and security are in question to launch a Commission of Inquiry into a plot to assassinate the President,” he said.
Jagdeo said that the CoI sought to demoralise the GPF and its officers. He added that if the President was dissatisfied with the investigation into the assassination claim, then he should have had the Head of the Presidential Secretariat meet with the parties involved and request a more comprehensive and thorough investigation.
“They are destroying the morale of the Police Force in a partisan act. This is a deliberate process, the public nature of it and having a junior officer question people who are far superior to him and a person who is partisan too heading that CoI has implications for who takes over the Force in the future,” Jagdeo warned.