Former President, Bharrat Jagdeo, said the antics of the APNU/AFC coalition will not scare the leadership of the PPP from fighting the oppressive policies of the government.
Jagdeo and several other ministers and functionaries who served under the PPP government were last week hauled in by the Special Organised Crime Unit and questioned about their acquisition of government lots at Sparendaam, known as Padoville 2. They have all been released.
On leaving SOCU’s Camp Street office, Jagdeo stated said, “They asked me questions in my official capacity and I have immunity on those, so I refused to answer those questions.”
He called government’s move an “act of desperation” and an attempt to divert attention from the deteriorating conditions in the country.
He added, “…we had indicated through a letter that we were willing to cooperate, although we believe it is a witch-hunt, and that people will be available for interviews today.
According to him, SOCU has clearly been receiving instructions from the “political directorate,” and given the “vindictive nature of the government,” charges can be expected in the future. “When those charges are made we will contest in court,” Jagdeo said.
He further explained that his lawyers did inquire about the nature of the charges.
Those summoned by SOCU included former President and Prime Minister, Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr, Roger Luncheon, Former Ministers, Irfaan Ali, Shaik Baksh, Priya Manickchand, Clement Rohee and Nanda Gopaul. Also called in were Lisa Ramotar,daughter of Former President, Donalf Ramoutar, former head of Private Sector Commission, Ramesh Dookhoo.
The Opposition Leader underscored the fact that the officers attached to SOCU are under “intense political pressure” and he noted that he sympathizes with them in that regard. “Every week, the head of SARU, Clive Thomas, speaks about who they should lock up…a week ago the Minister of Public Security (Khemraj) Ramjattan talked about locking up and charging people…Basil Williams has put $100M in his budget to come after political opponents….it is part of a witch-hunt…on a daily basis you hear about who they have to lock up…I have no doubt that the staff of SOCU is coming under tremendous pressure to come after political opponents of this government; rather than go after the people they were set up to go after.”
Jagdeo made clear that SOCU was set up to go after organised crime, to support the Financial Intelligence Unit. “The focus has been shifted….you are now going after Luncheon who got one plot of land, after 23 years, at Pradoville….and Jagdeo and the others….that is the focus of the government,” he said.
Jagdeo stressed that “if they (goverment) believe that any of these acts will intimidate us or make us scared of exposing the wrong doings of this government, they are wrong about that.”
He deemed the actions of SOCU as “another act of desperation” by the Coalition Government.