NEW YORK: The New York based Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID) announced Sunday that its legal committee has analyzed transcripts of testimony and evidence presented by the United States (US) Justice Department in the trial of Robert Simels in Federal Court in New York.
“The evidence establishes that Guyana’s President, Bharrat Jagdeo and Health Minister, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, “Are crooks who are alleged accessories to murder, and who allegedly countenanced the killing of hundreds of Guyanese citizens," the organization said.
“The evidence has proven both Mr. Jagdeo and Dr. Ramsammy to be chronic liars who have breached the public trust. We call on them both to resign forthwith," the Institute declared. CGID also called on Guyana’s Police Commissioner Henry Green to resign, saying
“Commissioner Green has blatantly mislead the public and intentionally overlooked hundreds of murders by a network of “Phantom” hit-men, some government Ministers and members of the security forces. He must resign so that the Guyana Police Force can be reformed and its integrity rehabilitated.”
The Institute noted that since Guyana’s Police, Military and Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), appear to be irredeemably corrupt, they cannot be trusted to conduct a professional or credible investigation of these matters. Hence, it called for Jagdeo, Ramsammy and other accomplices to be hauled to the International Criminal Court in The Hague and prosecuted for ‘crimes against humanity.’
“They deserve to be thrown in jail like other international criminals such as Slobodan Milosevic, Manuel Noriega and Charles Taylor, Jr.,” the CGID statement said. The organization appealed for an International Inquiry into extra-judicial killings, torture and executions by government officials and the “Phantom” gang, as detailed in the Gay McDougall Report, which was presented to the United Nations General Assembly in February 2009.
The Institute also said that "Now that evidence of atrocities committed by the Guyana government has been established through the judicial process, Caricom Heads must no longer show forbearance to a Head of State who that has been complicit with murder. We call on them to speak out."
CGID singled out Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, whom it said recently called for the elimination on term limits on the Presidency of Guyana. This would allow President Jagdeo to contest the presidency for additional terms.
“Now that Prime Minister Gonsalves has ‘opened the door’ to comment on Guyana’s constitutional political process, we hope that he will lend his extraordinary moral and legal prowess to the condemnation of acts of extra-judicial killings and torture in Guyana.
His prospective is necessary, as he has been a champion of human and civil rights in the Caribbean,” CGID noted. The CGID statement came as the US government presented damaging evidence in the Robert Simels trial, which implicated senior officials of the government of Guyana (GOG).
Simels, who is on trial for witness tampering and possession of eavesdropping equipment, is a former lawyer for confessed criminal, Roger Khan. Khan is a Guyanese drug baron and alleged financier of the ruling PPP. He was arrested in Paramaribo, Suriname on June 15, 2006 in a Police sting operation, and charged with drugs and weapons possession and plotting to assassinate several Surinamese government officials.
His preventive incarceration was then lifted by the Prosecutor’s office, and he was ordered deported to Guyana. Police officers then took Khan from his cell in the Santo Boma penitentiary straight to the international airport and placed him on a flight to Guyana, en route through Trinidad and Tobago (T&T).
However, while his flight was in-transit in T&T, DEA and FBI Agents arrested him and brought him to the US, where he was charged with multiple counts of “importation of cocaine” and “conspiracy.”
Khan retained Simels as his Attorney but has since pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing. President Jagdeo had viciously attacked the US government in Khan’s defense, and had labeled his arrest a US ‘rendition.’
Simels’ indictment information states that he attempted to hire a hit-man, on Khan’s behalf, to “eliminate” a witness in Khan’s case. The prospective hit-man turned out to be a DEA informant and Simels and his associate, Arienne Irving, were consequently charged with “witness tampering.”
FBI and DEA Agents raided Simels law office on September 10, 2008, and found telephonic eavesdropping equipment. Hence, they were subsequently slapped with an additional charge of “possession of electronic devices for the purpose of surreptitious interception of wire, oral and electronic communications.”
The equipment was first found in Khan’s possession when his pick-up truck was pulled over by an Army patrol in Good Hope Village, Guyana, in December 2002. Khan was in the company of Haroon Yahya and policeman Sean Belfield.
The surveillance computers were seized and Khan and his accomplices were charged and placed before the courts. Thereafter, the charges were mysteriously dropped by the DPP and the equipment was unlawfully returned to Khan.
Khan’s lawyers claimed that when a large number of prison escapees went on a killing spree in 2002, Khan responded by providing “financial and logistical support to the GOG,” and that he was in pursuit of the escapees when he was arrested. In an affidavit filed in US Federal Court, DEA Agent Cassandra Jackson, swore that US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, records show that Simels traveled to Guyana from October 9 to 12, 2007.
She attested that DHS records show that on or about October 11, 2007, a ‘Portable Auto Data Processing computer/machine was shipped from Guyana to Simels York Avenue Office, New York City.
She also attested that Simels, in secretly recorded conversations, confirmed possession of Roger Khan’s surveillance equipment.
The CGID statement quoted its President, Rickford Burke, as saying that the spy equipment has the capacity to intercept cellular phone communication anywhere in Guyana as well as pinpoint the geographic coordinates and location of callers.
He said that the evidence shows that Roger Khan and his “Phantom Death Squad,” while acting as agents of the Jagdeo Administration, used it to track down and kill individuals who were marked for elimination.
He noted that Journalist Ronald Waddell and boxing coach Donald Allison, were named in the testimony as two of the over 400 victims who were executed. Burke said that Khan had breached the country’s national security by tapping multiple alleged conversations of former Guyanese Police Commissioner, Winston Felix, rand eleased said illegal recordings on a CD to the media, with the full complicity of President Jagdeo.
He noted that when the recordings became public, Jagdeo, rather than seek international assistance to determine how Khan had breached national security, instead asked the FBI to authenticate Felix’s voice.
The FBI declined Jagdeo’s request, as the original recording had been altered and rerecorded multiple times. Burke said that Felix became a target because the Bush Administration had disengaged then Minister of National Security, Ronald Gajraj, and had been directly engaging Felix on law enforcement and national security issues.
The latter information was disclosed to a CGID delegation and a number of New York elected officials, when they met with US government officials in Washington DC, to discuss Roger Khan and the “Phantom” gang’s connection to President Jagdeo and his government.
Gajraj later resigned in disgrace after telephone records showed hundreds of calls between he and well known “Phantom” hit-man, Axel Williams.
“The US government was aware that President Jagdeo and Ministers Leslie Ramsammy, Ronald Gajraj, Clament Rohee, and others, had knowledge of, and had allegedly been complicit with, Roger Khan’s criminal enterprise,” Burke asserted.
On July 19, 2009, when President Jagdeo and Burke met for over six hours at the Brooklyn Marriott during the Caricom Heads meeting in New York, Burke pointedly asked Jagdeo if his government had purchased or authorized the purchase of the spying equipment that was found in Khan’s possession in 2002, and who had current possession of the said equipment.
President Jagdeo’s response was that“No one in my government purchased nor authorized anyone to purchase that equipment. Only Dr. Roger Luncheon has the authority to authorize that kind of transaction. And the computer is in the possession of the Police, ask the Police Commissioner.”
However, on July 28, Peter Myers, the Director of the Smith Myers Firm, the UK based company which manufactured the equipment, testified in New York Federal court that the cellular intercept equipment used by Roger Khan had been sold to the GOG by his company.
Myers provided evidence that the said equipment comprised a CSM 7806 intercept receiver and two “Tough Book” Laptops, and told the court that they were sold to the GOG by the company’s Florida sales office, through the Fort Lauderdale-based Spy Shop.
Moreover, Simels’ Attorney disclosed to the court that the equipment was purchased for and received on behalf of the GOG by Health Minister, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy.
Myers also confirmed that independent contractor, Carl Chapman, traveled to Guyana to train Khan and others in the use of the equipment.
CGID has now called on the Smith Myers Firm to release the bill of sale, Fedex shipping invoice, signature of the party in Guyana who received the equipment as well as the names of the individuals whom Chapman trained.
The Institute’s President also contended that “The evidence demonstrates that President Jagdeo has swirled himself into a contorted web of lies and deceit; conduct which is unbecoming of a Head of State.”
On Friday July 31, the GOG issued a statement saying that “The Government of Guyana rejects the claim that it bought the spy equipment… The main source of the information disclosed in the local media frenzy is Enrico Woolford, known for his anti-government journalism and reporting selectively on the ongoing trial in the USA.”
Reacting to the latter statement, Burke said “The Jagdeo administration’s credibility is in the cesspool. Its denials are a joke as the evidence is incontrovertible. No mendacity propagated by its Goebbels can save it from culpability.
Rather than attack the journalist who has accurately reported on the evidence presented to the court, the GOG should acquire a copy of the transcript and use this evidence as a basis to pursue the criminals in its midst.”
Burke also said “I dare President Jagdeo and Minister Ramsammy to come to the Federal Court in New York and testify under oath.” Furthermore, FBI informant, Selwyn Vaughn, a confessed former member of Khan’s “Phantom” death squad” gang, last Tuesday also testified that Khan ordered the execution of journalist/political activist, Ronald Waddell, with the full knowledge of Dr. Ramsammy.
Waddell, a talk-show host on HBTV Channel 9 and a former parliamentary candidate for the opposition PNC, was executed on January 30, 2006, as he entered his car outside his Georgetown home.
Vaughn, who is in US protective custody and who has immunity from prosecution by the US Federal government, testified that he was the “lookout man” in Waddell’s execution, and that he was situated in a Burgundy AT 192 motor car staking out the Talk Show Host.
He attested that he tracked Waddell to his home in Subrianville, Georgetown and called Khan on his cell phone and reported that Waddell was at home and had left his car idling on the roadway. Vaughn said that within minutes, four members of Khan’s squad, all former members of the GPF whom he named, turned up and shot Waddell when he returned to his car.
Vaughn testified that after the shooting he and the shooters assembled at Khan’s Nightclub - the Blue Iguana, where Khan, in his presence, called Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, and informed him that Waddell had been shot and that doctors at the Hospital must let him die.
Vaughn said that he had previously met Ramsammy at his Ministry of Health office and at the Blue Iguana, as an emissary of Khan’s. He also told the court that Waddell was killed because he was criticizing Khan and the government, and was connected to the prison escapees’ gang.
Vaughn also stated that around the period when Waddell was killed, he and Khan met with Ramsammy to discuss the Buxton Gang.
Vaughn also testified under oath that Khan’s gang had conspired to kidnap the wife of a high-ranking US diplomat in Guyana in retaliation for Khan’s arrest by the US government.
Ramsammy, in Guyana, has vehemently denied that he has ever had any contact with Khan and said he has no knowledge about the surveillance equipment. This prompted Burke to call on the telephone company “to release Roger Khan’s ‘unsanitized’ phone records for January 29th through 31, 2006.”
Burke added that “It is one thing to issue mendacious statements from Georgetown but it is another to testify under oath. I understand that Dr. Ramsammy is a US Citizen. Hence, I again urge him to come to the Federal Court in New York and present his testimony under oath, so that, according to him, he can clear his name.”
The CGID President said that court documents establish that Simels met with Ramsammy, in pursuance of information for his client’s defense, and at one point asked that Jagdeo “lodge a formal protest with the United States government regarding the arrest of Roger Khan.”
President Bharrat Jagdeo, when asked at a press conference on July 28, to respond to Vaughn’s testimony that Ramsammy had been complicit in the assassination of Waddell, said “Maybe if at the end of the day, all the criminals were to deal with each other we may have a better society but I am not going to sanction that. This is not government policy… but I wouldn’t lose any sleep, frankly speaking, about criminals when they kill each other.”
Jagdeo also further said that “If you believe all that this informant is saying you have to also believe that he (Waddell) was a member of the Buxton gang and that he was basically in a criminal enterprise. Waddell was a criminal involved in a criminal enterprise.”
When asked whether his administration would appoint a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the matter, Jagdeo rejected the idea. He noted that “You don’t need a Commission of Inquiry to go after criminal acts, the police should do that.”
He also stated that his government “does not go on the basis of allegations” and asserted that “there is nothing for a commission of inquiry to address.”
Responding to Jagdeo’s comments, Burke asserted that “Both President Jagdeo and Dr. Ramsammy have referred to the testimony presented in Federal Court in New York as ‘allegations.’
However, they are wrong. I suggest that they retain a Criminal Attorney, who, I’m sure, will appropriately advise them that testimony under oath in a court of law is not “allegation” but “evidence.”
He said that it is ironic that President Jagdeo readily accepts Vaughn’s testimony that Waddell had an alleged connection to a Buxton gang, and on that basis alone, declared Waddle to be a ‘criminal’ but conveniently rejects Vaughn’s testimony about his government’s connection to Khan’s criminal enterprise as mere ‘allegations.’
Burke contended that “Jagdeo’s mindset telegraphs their modus operandi. "They labeled whomever they choose as ‘criminals’ and then direct their “Phantom” gang to eliminate them." He slammed Jagdeo for labeling Waddell a ‘criminal’ saying, “Waddell’s only crime was to exercise his constitutional right to free speech. President Jagdeo continues to demonstrate complete repugnance to this fundamental civil right.”
Referring to Jagdeo’s statement, made in relation to Waddell, that “I wouldn’t lose any sleep, frankly speaking, about criminals when they kill each other,” Burke observed that “The instant comments by President Jagdeo are uncivil, callous and reckless.
They seem to emanate from the mind of a psychopath.” Burke strongly accused President Jagdeo of attempting to divert the nation’s attention from the testimony presented in New York to the investigation into the fire that recently destroyed Guyana’s Ministry of Health.
He labeled Jagdeo’s efforts “A smoke screen to obfuscate the mountain of evidence about the criminal conduct of his government.”
Burke said that said that a Guyanese political commentator who likened the Ministry of Health fire to “The Reichstag fire” in Germany, was “spot on.”
The Reichstag fire was an orchestrated arson attack on the Reichstag building in Berlin which housed the German parliament, on February 271933. The event led to the rounding up and banishment of opposition politicians and the birth of Adolph Hitler’sNazi majority government in Germany.