Former President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Bharrat Jagdeo on Thursday said he did not scrap the Military Criminal Intelligence Department (MCID) of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) but had overhauled that unit because he had been receiving “sterilized” reports.
“I remember one Colonel came to me and said to me ‘the report you’re getting from the Military Intelligence has to go through one character and it gets sterilized before it comes to you’ and he shared with me the initial report, the one that was drafted by the soldiers who were actually going out,” he told a news conference.
Jagdeo claimed that a comparison of the original reports and the ones that were eventually submitted to him as Commander-in-Chief revealed that “key things were taken out, particularly things that identified political operatives or questioned their role in the incidents at Buxton.”
Recalling that he had had grave concerns about the quality of official intelligence reports that had been dispatched to him, the former President denied shutting down MCID because information was being gathered about then Health Minister Dr. Leslie Ramsammy. “I don’t think I shut it down. I think we had changes. The G-2 still operated but you had significant changes in G-2,” he said, adding that that matter was dealt more with Secretary to the Defence Board, Dr. Roger Luncheon.
A letter to a United Kingdom-based supplier of sophisticated mobile phone-tapping and locator equipment purportedly signed by Ramsammy on the Health Ministry’s letter head had surfaced in a New York Court. The purported letter had stated that Ramsammy had been authorized to transact business concerning such a device. Police and soldiers had found such equipment in possession of drug lord, Roger Khan who has been convicted and jailed in the United States for cocaine trafficking.
He accused unnamed military personnel of consorting with the heavily armed gunmen in Buxton during the 2002 to 2006 period. “I wasn’t naïve. I knew, too, that you had people who were interested in not doing what we should have done which is to get rid of those criminals very early, to liberate the community of Buxton early. You had people who were working from the inside working to undermine that process,” he said.
Jagdeo rejected claims that he had given illegal instructions during his tenure that lasted from 1999 to 2011.
Against the background of his claim that members of the security forces had been colluding with criminals in Buxton, Jagdeo also dismissed questions that he had ignored operations by death squads to eliminate the criminals. “Let me tell you what I said to everyone including the donors and everyone- when a single soldier or policeman loses his or her life- because they killed a lot of them- I worry, when ordinary people lose their lives, I worry a lot… I said if these criminals kill each other, I don’t lose any sleep at night because they were just brutal,” he said. “I never turned a blind eye to anything because we went after all the criminals in the country,” Jagdeo added.
The former President suggested strongly that lawful instructions were not carried out professionally by then the police and defence forces under the leadership of two top officers who have now openly endorsed the opposition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU).