… Ramnarine maintains he is not “after” Top Cop position
By Lakhram Bhagirat
The mental health of Andriff Gillard, who reported that he was offered $7 million by Nizam Khan to assassinate President David Granger, was brought into the spotlight, while being cross-examined by Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud’s lawyer Glen Hanoman when he appeared before the Commission of Inquiry (CoI)
Gillard took umbrage with Hanoman’s line of questioning and asked the attorney whether he is of the view that he is mentally challenged, to which Hanoman replied in the affirmative.
Hanoman tried to establish that Gillard is an attention seeker, who concocted the entire assassination plot and then decided to cast blame on Nizam Khan. To further compound his belief, the attorney asked Gillard whether he was ever treated for any psychiatric conditions to which he replied in the negative.
“Would you be willing to seek professional psychiatric help, if it is necessary,” Hanoman asked. “Upon what suggestion of yours?” Gillard retortedly asked.
“I observed you. I am asking you would you be willing, if necessary, to seek psychiatric help,” Hanoman pressed.
“Do I look mad to you?” Gillard questioned.
At this point, CoI Commissioner Paul Slowe, intervened and told Gillard to answer the questions directly however the fiery exchange continued throughout the cross-examination.
Nizam Khan allegedly made the offer to kill President Granger in June of 2015 and Gillard kept that information until March 29, 2017. However, he told the Commission that he was hesitant to report the matter to the Police since Nizam Khan, his brother Imran Khan, Commissioner Persaud and Head of the Office of Professional Responsibility Heeralall Mackhanlall were all close friends. He added that because of that friendship, he felt the report would not be professionally investigated and treated with the priority it needed.
“I did not go to the Police. I was sent to the Police. The reason I did not went to the Police is because I know the affiliation between Imran Khan and Nizam Khan. I also know the affiliation of Mr Mackhanlall and Imran Khan. I was once sent to Mr Mackhanlall to have Police (officers) removed from the Diamond/Grove Police Station on behalf of Imran Khan. So, I know for a fact that I cannot go to Mr Mackhanlall and complain on he friend because he friend gon still hear back what happen and the complaint will be a problem,” Gillard related.
He said that he consulted with his attorney – who requested that his name be withheld – who advised him to report the details of the plot to the highest office holder within Office of the President, to which he adhered.
Gillard said that on March 29, he went to the Office of the President and met with a man who advised him to go over to the Public Security Ministry (MoPS) and they would take the investigation further. He related when he visited the MoPS he was taken to the office of A Division Commander, Clifton Hicken, and later to the Criminal Investigation Department Headquarter, Eve Leary where a statement was taken.
Stellar memory, lengthy criminal record
In the afternoon session of the CoI, acting Police Commissioner David Ramnarine was recalled to be further cross-examined. Ramnarine said there was no evidence to suggest that Gillard was lying when he made the allegation and that a background check conducted by the Special Branch Unit, proved that he has no criminal records. He also maintained that criminal records were discovered to date in the investigation.
However, that was disputed since Gillard has been charged with several offences ranging from robbery under arms to threatening language against his wife. Attorney Christopher Ram, who represents the interest of Imran Khan, revealed the details about Gillard’s lengthy criminal rap sheet to which Gillard attempted to give an explanation for every charge.
Ram provided evidence to the Commission to show that Gillard was arraigned in the Blairmont Magistrate’s Court for the charge of robbery under arms. He had several charges for simple larceny, threatening behaviour and assault.
When Ram asked Gillard whether he made any contemporaneous notes from July 2015, the latter replied in the negative and said he relied on his memory. However, during cross examination, his memory faded since he could not remember the names, dates and places where he had brushes with the law.
Acting Police Commissioner David Ramnarine, denied misleading President Granger about the status of a probe into an alleged assassination plot. He told the Commission that on the morning of March 30, the day after the alleged plot was reported to the Police, he was expected the brief the President and he did.
However, Ramnarine did not review the investigation file and conducted his briefing based on Gillard’s allegation and a statement that was taken from him. He added that he did not see the contents of the statement and that he was unaware that there were at least three other statements taken during the night of March 29.
Attorney Hanoman suggested that the acting Top Cop provided the President with false information to which he replied “that is quite outrageous.”
Acknowledging the initial stage of an investigation is most important, he later said based on certain actions his instructions were “largely disregarded”. Ramnarine said he agree that the Police probe was lethargic and could not have defend the Guyana Police Force.
The public hearing aspect of the CoI is expected to conclude on Wednesday when Police Legal Adviser, Justice Claudette Singh (ret’d) takes the stand.