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Rohee, as Home Minister, confirmed police surveillance of opposition

Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee testifying before the Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry.

Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee on Thursday said he used his ministerial office to ascertain who had been conducting intelligence surveillance around the headquarters and members of his governing People’s Progressive Party (PPP).

Appearing before a Commission of Inquiry into the bomb-blast death of Walter Rodney in 1980, Rohee detailed that persons dressed in shirt-jacs and trousers had routinely monitored Freedom House, the PPP headquarters during the last 1970s and 1980s.

Those activities, including the tracking of then PPP Leader Dr. Cheddi Jagan to and from his home and dentistry as well as other party members, Rohee said was done by persons who had the “cut” of Special Branch operatives.

At that time Rohee, then a PPP Leader,  said  he relied on his “political exposure and experience” to ascertain that the men were intelligence agents.

Asked whether and how was he able to confirm that the men had been Special Branch operatives,  he said “Yes I did”… “when I became Minister of Home Affairs.”

Rohee could not envisage Special Branch and Immigration officers interrogating him and seizing his documents  and literature now as they had done when he had passing through the then Timehri International Airport  decades ago. “I can’t imagine the special branch and immigration searching their minister,” he said. At that point, the Chairman of the Commissioner of Inquiry Sir Richard Cheltenham remarked that that “is known to happen in other countries but that is another matter.”

Currently the General Secretary of the PPP,  Rohee recalled being asked who had paid for his ticket and what had been the purpose of his trips abroad.