Last Updated on Thursday, 24 August 2023, 17:52 by Denis Chabrol
Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo on Thursday ruled out disclosing the names of persons he said knew alleged attempts to mislead his government about a six-year long “insurgency” whose aim had been to “dislodge” his People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC)-led administration.
He said they included villagers in “those communities” and soldiers who helped to expose the sterilise versions of the documents that had been provided to then government under his presidency.
“Those people need to be protected; they still need to be protected. They put their lives at risk to give us information that ultimately led to either the arrest of these people or in engagements with the security forces, they were killed,” Mr Jagdeo told a news conference at Freedom House, his party’s headquarters.
The former Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces reminded that at least five top officers of the Guyana Defence Force “had to make way for a new Chief-of-Staff when I was President.” “They had no role again in the command structure of the GDF and that’s when we started making progress by replacing people,” he said.
Mr Jagdeo indicated that informants included dissatisfied persons in Buxton who had provided video recordings of “all that was taking place” such as rape of young girls and alleged visits to Buxton by a number of then senior opposition politicians. “We had people in the community of Buxton, who were totally dissatisfied with what was happening in that community,” he said.
He said while political cover had been given to the five inmates. who had escaped from the Georgetown Prison in February, 2002, he did not believe that they were entirely politically motivated. “They were criminals. I don’t believe they had any intense loyalty to anyone, so they killed conveniently when they felt threatened,” he said.
At least one of the escapees, Andrew Douglas, had appeared on a privately-owned television station with an AK-47 assault rifle, stating that he and others were freedom fighters. “Political cover was given to the five prison escapees one of whom had appeared on television calling himself a freedom fighter,” he said.
The Vice President said twice at events in honour of late Cabinet Secretary and Secretary to the Defence Board that a lot of things about that period would be taken to their grave. However, he did rule out that eventually there could be some disclosures. “Maybe, as time goes on, things will happen,” he said.
The Jagdeo administration had been accused of unleashing state-sponsored death squads to go after heavily armed criminals, a charge that had been denied vehemently. A number of Trinidadians, who had been burnt to death in separate cars, were believed to be mercenaries.