President David Granger on Thursday cited the lack of evidence and witnesses as the reasons why inquiries have not been led into the killing of persons following the 2002 Camp Street Prison jailbreak and the ensuing crime wave.
Granger appeared on Hits and Jams 94.1 Boom FM’s radio show “The Hot Seat” on Thursday, where he was questioned on a number of issues by host Stan Gouveia, including the failure to hold inquiries as promised during the APNU+AFC coalition’s 2015 elections campaign.
In response, Granger noted that they would have made a start with the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the Lindo Creek massacre, which involved members of the Guyana Police Force and the Guyana Defence Force, but he noted that a lot of the needed evidence was difficult to obtain. The president said the outcome of the inquiry was a great disappointment to him.
“Part of the troubles that we saw between 2000 and 2010 involved the methodical removal of witnesses to those crimes and the result is that it is very difficult to get evidence. So you can’t convene a Commission of Inquiry and nobody’s going to come forward with evidence,” Granger said, while adding that they did make an attempt with the CoI into the Lindo Creek massacre but the evidence was not substantial.
He said that for the Lindo Creek CoI, persons who were known to be involved would not speak up, which caused the inquiry to get to a certain stage and then it stopped.
He went on to say that that might be the case with all of the other massacres, which would have taken place under the PPP’s administration, which was at the time led by Bharrat Jagdeo.
The report of the CoI into the Lindo Creek massacre is still to be made public. Justice (ret’d) Donald Trotman, who led the CoI, had noted during the handing over of the final report in August 2018 that one of the main recommendations was that the families of slain miners, receive compensation from the state. However, there has been no decision made on the recommendation as yet.
Meanwhile, Granger added that there were about ten massacres which would have occurred under Jagdeo’s administration and charged that none were investigated. The president was also asked his opinions on the PPP’s promise to order inquiries into some of the unsolved killings. Granger questioned why anyone would believe that the party would launch inquiries if re-elected given that it had failed to do so while in office. He specifically cited the murder of former minister Satyadeow Sawh. “He (Jagdeo) has in his Cabinet someone who is assassinated and he does not even hold a Coroner’s Inquest, much less a Commission of Inquiry,” the president said.
He went on to say that even Sawh’s family would have sued the previous administration over its failure to protect him.
“Once there is evidence, we will continue to search. Right now, we’re searching for evidence. We’ve conducted a lot of inquiries and we have been able to bring some of the worst abuses to an end simply because the perpetrators know that we have taken some corrective action…,” the president added.