A Commission of Inquiry is the convening of a fact finding body, typically ordered by a government, to inquire into accusations, report the findings and make recommendations.
On or around March 2016, infamous drug baron, Barry Dataram, made accusations that a “high ranking CANU Official” would take ten million GYD to allow cocaine to leave Guyana; with a five million down payment and five million post shipment. He made several other allegations about the magnitude of CANU’s involvement in moving drugs in and out of the country and the culture of bribing to pass illegal commodities through the country’s premier ports.
After Dataram’s allegations were made on national television, President Granger, in an interview, said that his National Security Council (NSC) concluded that an inquiry should be launched into Dataram’s claims.
The US State Department has labeled Guyana a transit country. The United Nations Office on Drug and Crime has determined that containing the drug flow through Guyana could impact the flow of drugs to the US. And, the US is one of the country’s economic mainstays.
So making nice was politic.
A one –man commission was launched.
A two month investigation was conducted and the findings were released to the Office of the Presidency on or around July 9th, 2016.
That the Granger Administration advocated an inquiry was a veritable step to transparency.
That the results of the inquiry will not immediately be made public, to the people for whom the inquiry was conducted because the Administration has determined that there is “sensitivity” in the details Dataram exposed, walks back that step and makes us wonder who the government is protecting – those names exposed in Inquiry or the people to whom the poison of dope is peddled and by extension all of the tributaries of the dope deal?
In spite of all of the campaign promises and the positions taken when this Administration was in the Opposition, they remain more promoters of bureaucracy than agents of change. The presence of drugs and the ease with which weapons enter the country are directly proportional to the rate of crime, the use of deadly force and the propensity for crime to be chosen as an alternative to work and honest earnings.
Dataram made it very clear that “high ranks” are involved in Guyana’s drug trafficking. He said drugs that are seized by CANU, typically, end back up on the streets in very, very short order.
The DEA has found it necessary to set up office in Guyana. The Customs and Narcotics Unit, although “thoroughly vetted” continues to have its credibility challenges and Guyana remains a port under DEA jurisdiction.
These are all connecting dots.
The people remain curious.
The people for whom this Inquiry was conducted are thinking, if Dataram is bold enough to go on public television and make these specific allegations, then he must have specific information –inclusive of cargo description, dates and the dollar amounts of bribes passed. He has repeatedly mentioned that “high ranks” are involved and the people are curious who are being paid tax payers’ dollars to commit these egregious crimes under the guise of public service.
The highest rank, James Singh, is constantly at the center of alleged improprieties associated with CANU and has often been accused of being a recipient of financial inducement. This would have been the best time to put those allegations to rest; to have Mr. Singh and his senior staff testify at the Inquiry. Was he summoned to the Inquiry? Was he asked to defend the activities of his Agency, activities that Dataram has linked with his?
And this was not this confessed drug dealer’s first attempt to publicize the CANU connection to the country’s drug trade. One journalist at Kaietur News gave an account of how Dataram had come to his house to share information, which he, the journalist, refused to take in the interest of his personal safety. So, this mobster seems to have a burning to desire to share his knowledge of the country’s underworld; irrespective of motive.
Of course, Mr. Dataram could be lying through his teeth, as CANU suggests, to ameliorate his impending extradition to answer drug charges in the USA, but the people won’t know unless the accused were summoned by the Inquiry to have their answers parsed and analyzed for the report which, hopefully, makes its way to the public.
And the fact that the Kaieteur News journalist refused to take the information, in the interest of his personal safety, speaks to the existence of Mobocracy; the silent acceptance that those involved in Guyana’s drug trade are ruthless; that the authorities are aware of this savagery and are, PERHAPS, too compromised, for the very reasons Dataram wants to talk, too undermined to make journalists feel safe, keep citizens safe, stop the flow of drugs in and out of the country.
There are lots of parallels being drawn to the previous administration and the murky way in which they addressed these issues. There is recollection of how the previous Opposition (the current Administration) insisted on the past Administration’s , the PPP’s, expedition and transparency on the nefarious activity that had landed Guyana at the wrong end of the Financial Action Task Force(s).
Now the President has declared that Dataram’s allegations are “without foundation” and the public is still wondering if there is no foundation to these claims, how did Guyana ever garnish the demerit of drug hub and narco state.
The silver lining, though, according to the President, is that Dataram’s allegations did reveal ‘several Administrative deficiencies’ which will force a change in the “architecture in the narcotics program”.
So, it’s not the personnel who are guilty at CANU but the operation that is deficient of proper procedures.
Multiple blows to the Manifesto which we loved.
There’s really no appropriate lament to end this one.