" THE CASE AGAINST BHARRAT JAGDEO" by Colin A. Moore
(Case must be referred to the International Court of Justice (ICJ)
The period between 2002 and 2010 has been referred to as the “troubles.” It is the period when Guyana witnessed the largest upsurge of gang related violence and extra-judicial killings in the post independence history of Guyana. “The Troubles” began when a group of 5 prisoners broke out of the Georgetown prison on February 23, 2002 (Mashrami Day), and concealed themselves within the Afro-Guyanese villages on the East Coast of Demerara. The Jagdeo government did not resort to the traditional law enforcement techniques to track down and apprehend the prisoners, but instead launched a genocidal war of attrition against the escapees, with the assistance and collusion of the Roger Khan drug gang, and renegade members of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and the Guyana Defense Force (GDF) under the leadership of Ronald Gajraj.
Jagdeo recruited the services of Ronald Gajraj, an ex-GDF officer, who had been court martialed, and dishonorably discharged from the GDF for misappropriation of funds. Gajraj recruited the services of the renegade members of the Tactical Services Squad (TSS) to carry out the genocidal assault. He also recruited the services of Shaheed Roger Khan, one of the most notorious drug dealers, gun runners, money launderers, and narcotic traffickers in the history of Guyana. By the time Roger Khan had been arrested in Surinam on January 15, 2006 between 200 to 400 individuals, primarily Afro-Guyanese, lay dead in the streets of Georgetown, Buxton and Agricola. It is estimated that there were 1,701 murders during the tenure of Bharrat Jagdeo. Between the period of 2002 and 2006, 784 Guyanese were murdered, an average of 157 murders per year.
What was amazing during this period, were the large number of massacres that took place in Guyana during this period of time. There was a total of 14 massacres that took place at the height of “the troubles.”
• There was the Kitty massacre which took place in September 2002 at Natoo’s Bar in which 4 people were shot dead and 8 others were wounded.
• There was the Lamaha Garden’s massacre, in October 2002 in which 7 persons were shot to death.
• There was the Bourda killed which took place in November 2002, in which 5 persons were massacred.
• There was the Diwali massacre in which 5 people were shot dead.
• There were the Friendship massacre and the Prashad Nagar massacre in June 2003, in which the Guyana Defense Force and the Guyana Police Force executed 9 persons.
• There was the Agricola-Eccles massacre in February 2006 when a gang of bandits executed 8 persons.
• There was the LBI massacre in April 2006, in which a gang executed 4 individuals, including Minister of Agriculture, Satyadeow Sawh, his sister, Phulmattie Persaud, his brother, Rajpat Rai Sawh, and security guard, Curtis Robinson.
• There was the Bagotstown-Eccles massacre in August 2006, in which 8 people were killed.
• There was the Black Bush massacre in August 2006, in which the security forces slaughtered 7 suspects.
• There was the Lusignan massacre in January 2008, in which 11 people were killed.
• There was the Bartica massacre in February 2008 that claimed 12 lives.
• There was the Lindo Creek massacre in June 2008 that claimed 7 lives.
• There was Cummings Lodge massacre in September 2010 that claimed the lives of 5 members of one family.
It is amazing that there were fourteen massacres claiming ninety-two lives, and yet, no Inquest or Commission of Inquiry was appointed by the Jagdeo government. All of the 5 escapees were shot to death, and again no Inquest or Commission of Inquiry was appointed. The traditional law enforcements techniques were never utilized. There was no forensic investigation into the circumstances of the breakout, and no serious attempt was made to apprehend the escapees. No due process rights were ever extended to the escapees. There was no attempt made to effectuate an arrest based on probable cause or reasonable suspicion.
There was no attempt made to obtain inculpatory or exculpatory statements from the escapees, there was no right to counsel, no right to trial by jury, no rights to confront witnesses, no rights to cross examine witnesses, no right to demand proof beyond a reasonable doubt, no obligation to extend to these escapees their fundamental human rights articulated in the Constitution of Guyana. The only strategy adopted by the security forces and the Roger Khan gang, was “shoot first and ask questions later.” The security forces of Guyana had appropriated, at one fell swoop, the roles of judge, jury and executioner.
Commission of Inquiry and Terms of Reference
I would propose that the Guyana government appoint a Commission of Inquiry (COI) to investigate the deaths of 200 to 400 Guyanese nationals that took place between 2002 and 2008. I would also propose that the Guyanese government should formulate the Terms of Reference (TOR) under which this COI should operate. I would propose that the Guyana Government retain the services of the International Commission of Jurist (ICJ) to perform the task as COI. There are 4 reasons that I would propose the ICJ. Firstly, the ICJ is comprised of sixty attorneys, judges and academics who are versed in the areas of international criminal law, comparative criminal law and human rights abuses.
Secondly, they are an NGO that is recognized by the United Nations, International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court as the most competent and professional tribunal to conduct investigations of criminal activities and human rights abuses. Thirdly, they are an independent body that does not owe allegiance to any country, political party, or ideology, and is respected throughout the international community for their independence and integrity. Fourthly, they have had experience with the ethnic and human rights situation in Guyana. In 1964, they were commissioned by the PNC/UF coalition to conduct an investigation pertaining to the under-representation of Indo-Guyanese in all sectors of the Guyana Public Service – Civil Service, the Guyana Police Force, Guyana Teaching Profession and the Guyana Defense Force.
The ICJ found that, even though there was no subjective intent by policy makers to discriminate against Indo-Guyanese, that there were in fact policies which had created an institutional discrimination against Indo-Guyanese, particularly in the Guyana Police Force, the Civil Service and the Teaching Profession. It formulated a set of proposals to eliminate institutional discrimination in the public service against the Indo-Guyanese. Based on these factors, I propose that the ICJ would be the most competent, professional and independent tribunal to conduct this investigation.
I would propose the following seven terms of reference:
1. The COI should be empowered to investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths of two to four thousand Guyanese nationals between 2002 and 2010.
2. The COI should investigate the role played by the following individuals:
• Shaheed Roger Khan
• Bharratt Jagdeo
• Ronald Gajraj
• Dr. Leslie Ramsammy
• Any other members of the cabinet.
3. To examine the role played by the following agencies of the Government: The Guyana Police Force, Floyd McDonald, former Commissioner of Police. The Guyana Defense Force and the commanding officers between 2002 and 2010. The Attorney Generals and the Directors of Public Prosecution (DPP) between 2002 and 2010, and certain members of the judiciary, in particular, the magistrate at the Sparrendaam Magistrate Court, who, in December 2002 dismissed weapons charges against Roger Khan, Haroon Yahya and Sean Belfield.
4. The COI should determine whether the acts perpetrated by Roger Khan, Bharrat Jagdeo, Ronald Gajraj and Dr. Leslie Ramsammy were criminal, unethical, inappropriate or constituted a violation of domestic or international law.
5. If the COI determines that the acts committed by these individuals were criminal, then the COI should refer the matter to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).
6. If the COI determines that the acts perpetrated by Bharrat Jagdeo were either criminal, unethical, inappropriate or constituted a violation of international law, then it should refer the matter to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
7. If the COI determines that the relatives of the victims who were killed or injured in the activities that occurred between 2002 and 2010 suffered economic loss or emotional, mental or psychological distress, pain and suffering, the COI should be authorized to grant them reparations in an amount to be determined by the COI.
1. Murder. “A person is guilty of murder when, with intent to cause the death of such person, who causes the death of that person.” There is overwhelming evidence that Roger Khan committed murder against several Guyanese nationals. He not only targeted his victims, but he hired the criminal gangs to execute the victims. Selwyn Vaughan, a high ranking member of the Roger Khan gang testified in Federal Court in Brooklyn that Roger Khan executed the following individuals:
- Ronald Waddell, a talk show host who was fatally shot outside of his home in Bel Air Park.
- Donald Allison, a boxing coach who was shot to death outside of his home in Agricola.
- Dave Persaud, shot outside the Palm Court Restaurant in Georgetown.
- Vibert Innis, deputy head of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU).
- Harry Rambarran, businessman.
- And dozens of individuals in Georgetown and on the East Coast of Demerara.
There was overwhelming evidence that Ronald Gajraj, the former Minister of Home Affairs, was directly implicated in the deaths of dozens of people in Georgetown and East Coast of Demerara.
George Bacchus, a former member of the Roger Khan gang executed an affidavit on June 11, 2004, in which he claimed that Ronald Gajraj, former Minister of Home Affairs, prepared lists of individuals to be executed. Among the individuals that he met at Gajraj’s home were Selwyn Williams, Axel Williams and Wendell Ceasar, who were known to be policemen. These men were responsible for the execution of the individuals whose names appeared on Gajraj’s death list. Selwyn Williams was invariably armed with an M-70 rifle, Wendell Ceasar was armed with a beretta sub-machine gun.
A Commission of Inquiry was appointed to investigate the allegations made against Ronald Gajraj by George Bacchus. The Commission of Investigation was supposed to meet on the morning of June 24, 2004. However, in the early hours of June 24, 2004, George Bacchus was shot to death in his bed. George Bacchus’ killer was later identified as Delon Fat Boy Reynolds, who was paid $200,000 to kill Bacchus. He was Bacchus handyman, and lived in a shack in Bacchus’ residence at 76 Princess Street in Lodge. Commission of Inquiry that was appointed in June 2004 to investigate the activities of Ronald Gajraj held that there was no credible evidence linking Gajraj to the extra judicial killings between 2002 and 2004.
3. Criminal Possession of Firearms and Electronic Surveillance and Eavesdropping Equipment
On December 4, 2002, a GDF patrol in the area of Good Hope, East Coast Demerara intercepted a vehicle and discovered an arsenal of weapons. Found in the vehicle were Roger Khan, Haroon Yahya and Sean Belfield, a member of the Guyana Police Force. The arms cache, including M-16 assault rifles with night vision capability; a Uzi sub-machine gun with silencer; Glock 9 mm pistols; 12-guage shotgun; other small caliber weapons; bullet proof vest; helmets; a computer and other electronic gadgets with electronic maps of Georgetown and certain Afro-Guyanese villages on the East Coast of Demerara.
The group was arrested and charged with criminal possession of firearms and electronic and eavesdropping surveillance equipment, and taken to the Sparendaam Police Station. The next day the Magistrate summarily dismissed the charges against the defendants and immediately returned the weapons to them.
4. Drug Trafficking, Witness Tampering and Gun Running
On March 17, 2009, in the Federal District Court in Brooklyn, New York, Roger Khan pled guilty to the charges of drug trafficking in 150 kilograms of cocaine, witness tampering and gun running and sentenced to jail for 15 years.
5. Wire Tapping of the Police Commissioner, Winston Felix
In 2006, Roger Khan released to the media houses in Georgetown, Guyana, the substance of a confidential telephone conversation between Police Commissioner Winston Felix and Basil Williams, a member of the PNC executive. The Jagdeo Government, not only failed to prosecute Khan, a convicted felon and drug trafficker for tapping the telephone of a public servant, but it persecuted its own Police Commissioner, Winston Felix, who at that time was conducting a diligent pursuit of the Roger Khan drug trafficking ring.
6. Criminal Facilitation
“A person is guilty of criminal facilitation when, believing it probable that he is rendering aid to a person who intends to commit a felony, he engages in conduct which provides such person with the means or opportunity for the commission of the felony.”
Peter Meyers, co-director of the UK firm, Smith-Meyers, testified in the Federal Court in Brooklyn, that the cellular intercept equipment found in Khan’s vehicle on December 4, 2002, and used to intercept the telephone conversations of Winston Felix, the police commissioner, had been sold to the Guyana government. It was sold by the company’s Florida sales office to the Fort Lauderdale-based Spy Shop and then sold to the Guyana Government. It was purchased by Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, former Minister of Health, who signed on behalf of the Guyana government. Carl Chapman, a representative of Smith Meyers Communication, had travelled to Guyana to train Roger Khan in its use.
On July 29, 2009, Selwyn Vaughn testified in the Federal District Court in Brooklyn that after the shooting of Waddell, Khan and his group, including Vaughn, gathered at the Blue Iguana night club and from that location, Khan called the Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy and instructed Ramsammy to order the doctors at the Georgetown Public Hospital to let Waddell die. Vaught testified that he had met Ramsammy at Khan’s carpet cleaning office in Bel Air Village, and that he went to Dr. Ramsammy’s office on behalf of Roger Khan. He further testified that after Khan was arrested by the United States, Khan’s group expected Dr. Ramsammy to provide assistance to them.
7. Collusion Between the Government of Guyana and the Roger Khan Gang
On May 12, 2006, Roger Khan, in an amazing display of hubris that was “breathtaking in its audacity,” took out a full page ad in the Guyanese media, which stated, in pertinent part, that “I worked closely with the crime fighting sections of the Guyana Police Force, and provided them with assistance and information at my own expense. My participation was instrumental in curbing crime during this period.” Notwithstanding his patently absurd claims of public service and altruism, Roger Khan’s statement of May 2006 was an implicit admission that he was working at the behest of, and in collusion with the Jagdeo government. Another person who was concerned about this collusion was the US Ambassador to Guyana, Roland W. Bullen. Bullen stated that, in his cable to the State Department, “most respected commentators believe that Guyana had already become, or is well on its way to being a narco state. If Guyana is a narco state, then Khan is its leader.”
Referral to the DPP and Internationa Court of Justice( ICC)
I would propose that, if the COI finds that Roger Khan and members of the Government, such as, Ronald Gajraj, former Minister of Home Affairs, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, former Minister of Health, and Floyd McDonald, former Commissioner of Police, have committed crimes, the COI should forward their files to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for criminal prosecution. Since Bharrat Jadgeo enjoys immunity from prosecution under Article 182(1) of the Constitution of Guyana. Bharrat Jagdeo cannot be criminally prosecuted in the courts of Guyana. However, since his actions constitute a violation of international law, specifically, Article 6 of the Rome Statute of the ICC, which defines the crime of genocide as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.” It is my contention that the killings by the Roger Khan group, and the extra judicial killings by the TSS (The Death Squad) had a disproportionate impact on the Afro-Guyanese population. Over 90% of the casualties were Afro-Guyanese.
Our purpose in seeking a Commission of Inquiry in 2015 is based on deterrence rather than retribution. We do not seek merely to punish Jagdeo for the criminal acts he committed in 2002, but we seek to deter any future President from perpetrating the heinous acts that had been inflicted upon our beloved motherland between 2002 and 2010.