Ramjattan, top cop tightlipped on possible Roger Khan probe

11 July 2019

Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan and Commissioner of Police Leslie James both yesterday declined to say whether any investigation regarding crimes committed on local soil by  recently released Guyanese drug kingpin Roger Khan has started or if there are plans to do so in the near future.

The 47-year-old Khan is currently in the custody of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) awaiting deportation to Guyana. He recently completed serving ten years of a 15-year sentence for drug trafficking.               

Ramjattan, when contacted by Stabroek News, opted not to divulge information. “No comment. I cannot make that [public]. The police are doing their work. They will always do work on people who are coming back as deportees. That is as much as I can tell you,” he said.

Asked when Khan is expected back in Guyana, the minister said that this will be a couple of weeks from now, based on his understanding. “The immigration has to process him in America and I understand it will take a couple of weeks,”  he said.

Subsequently, this newspaper contacted James who also offered no comment.

He inquired from this newspaper whether it knows about any such investigation. “You know of anything like that. I don’t know about anything as such,” he said.

Told that this newspaper was merely trying to ascertain what law enforcement authorities have done or plan to do, he responded “I have no statement to make with regard to Roger Khan at this point it time.”

Pressed on whether he could not at least confirm that an investigation is being done, he said, “I am saying to you I have no statement to make in relation to Roger Khan.”

The refusal of the two officials to comment comes on the heels of a similar position adopted by Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), Matthew Langevine.

On Monday, in response to questions raised by this newspaper, Langevine made it clear that the agency does not discuss matters specific to cases.

According to the FIU website, the unit is an autonomous body responsible for requesting, receiving, analysing and disseminating suspicious transaction reports and other information relating to money laundering, terrorist financing or the proceeds of crime.

Observers have pointed out that aside from drug trafficking and related crimes, authorities here should be looking into Khan’s assets since up to the time of his arrest and extradition to the US, he was identified as a  wealthy man who had a large sum of money and owned many properties.

`The Troubles’

President David Granger has frequently spoken about what he termed `The Troubles’ and how waves of killings under the PPP/C were not investigated.

In an address on January 21, 2016, the President said in part:

“The ‘Troubles’ is the name given to the decade – between 2000 and 2009 – that witnessed this country’s most intense and sustained wave of criminal violence since independence. There were 1,431 murders during that decade, more than at any other similar period in the modern history of Guyana.

“The previous administration never bothered to account to this nation for the hundreds of lives lost through criminal violence.

“It refused even to conduct inquests into the assassinations of its own Minister of Agriculture at La Bonne Intention; of the head of the Police Force’s Target Special Squad on the Linden-Soesdyke Highway; of the deputy head of the Customs Narcotics Unit in Buxton and of the attempted assassination of the Director of Public Prosecution in Kitty.

“It refused to conduct inquiries into the massacres in Agricola, Bagotstown-Eccles, Bartica, Bourda, Campbellville, Kitty, Lamaha Gardens, Lindo Creek, Lusignan and elsewhere.

“A generation of Guyanese – which was an unwilling witness to criminal violence – has now grown up. The agony, anger and alienation caused by violence against citizens, especially the innocent and the young still simmer. The crimes have not been explained. The memories have not been erased.

“Many are suffering in their bedrooms and schoolyards from the aftershock of the ‘secondary impact’ of years of criminal violence they saw on the streets and in the media.

“The scars of the ‘Troubles’ are still visible. Some communities — at Bartica, Buxton and Kingston — have become so unsettled by the violence that they erected monuments to the victims.

“The ‘Troubles,’ no doubt, was the consequence of a high-level condonation of, or complicity with, the rise of drug cartels and the importation of illegal narcotics and weapons. These crimes brought an unprecedented wave of criminal violence into this country during the first decade of this century. The consequence of this narco-trade, particularly, has been a bloody battle to extend drug empires and to eliminate anyone who resisted them.

“The Chairman of the Central Intelligence Committee– who during that period was also Head of the Presidential Secretariat – described the criminal violence in the early years of this century as “drug-gang warfare.” He invented the expression ‘phantom force’ to describe the gangs responsible for the perpetration of execution murders.

“The Force, of course, was no ‘phantom.’ It was real. Any mystery about its origins and operations evaporated in October 2003 when a repentant gangster made the startling decision to confess his transgressions and to expose the Force’s links to a government minister.

“A Commission of Inquiry was established to investigate whether the Minister of Home Affairs was implicated in “promoting, directing or otherwise engaged in activities which involved the extra-judicial killing of persons.”

“Before the would-be testifier could testify, however, he was shot dead in his bed, sadly, on the night of 24th June, eight days before the Commission was sworn in on 2nd July 2004.

“It would have been impossible for any society to have survived the ‘Troubles’ which Guyana endured without suffering a ‘secondary impact’ – the after effects. The bandits, ‘the phantom force’ and rogue policemen caused many deaths; too many to be easily forgotten.

The violence perpetrated by rogue policemen under the pretext of conduction of investigations, when in fact there was only intimidation, has left permanent scars. The arbitrary arrests, unwarranted detentions, deliberate shootings, torture, and sham inquiries have had a cumulative, corrosive ‘secondary impact’ on society.

“Many failed to comprehend how violent the drug war had become. Many failed to fathom the repercussions of the prolonged violence which claimed the lives of an unprecedented, and still undetermined, number of policemen and youths”.

Supervised release

When sentencing Khan in October 2009, following his confession to drug trafficking, US Federal Judge Dora Irizarry had stated that following his prison term, Khan would be placed on five years’ supervised release, but would more than likely be deported. She had warned him that if he re-entered the US illegally after deportation, he would be arrested and sentenced to a much longer prison term than 15 years.

In her comments during the sentencing, Judge Irizarry had said that while no sentence imposed on Khan would make right whatever atrocities he had committed, the fact that he would serve time in a US prison meant that justice had been served. She had sentenced him to two terms of 15 years and one term of 10 years, all of which ran concurrently.

The sentencing marked the culmination of Khan’s case, which had riveted the country as explosive information linking the Guyana government to the once powerful and violent drug lord was revealed. Khan’s now convicted lawyer’s trial had been similarly revealing.

Among other things, Khan was linked to the former PPP/C government and former Health Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy was implicated as being the government official who authorised the importation of spy equipment found in a vehicle in which Khan and others were travelling. Ramsammy has repeatedly denied any links to Khan.

Following his release on Monday, Khan was transferred to a “low security federal correctional institution with an adjacent minimum-security satellite camp” before ICE took custody of him.

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  • Trevor  On July 11, 2019 at 11:49 pm

    America white man smart.

    Roger Khan coming here for late 2019, but sure he gonna be here by 2020.
    Exxon-Mobil producing first oil 2020.

    See the connection?

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