Former Chief-of-Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Rear Admiral Gary Best said the authorities need the support of citizens support to ensure successful prosecutions of drug traffickers.
“It is a moral issue…it is a civic duty of most people to really give evidence of cases before the court,” Best said, noting that persons may have information but are afraid to come forward.
Best was speaking at a press conference at the headquarters of the PNC, the largest party in the governing Coalition.
He added that the Government is concerned that persons are escaping the law.
“We’ll encourage persons to come forward and I’m sure the David Granger led administration will provide as much protection that is needed to those persons who wish to come forward and give that evidence,” he stated.
The APNU+AFC Government has continually referred to Guyana under the People’s Progressive Party’s (PPP) tenure as a narco-state. On Friday, Best, a PNC Executive, was questioned about the government’s inability to charge any major drug dealer even after continually alluding to their presence during the former administration’s tenure.
The questions were raised in light of the authorities’ unsuccessful attempt to implicate convicted drug lord Shaheed “Roger” Khan who returned to Guyana in September after serving nine years in a US prison for cocaine trafficking. Upon his return to Guyana.
Khan was held for the September 2005 murder of well-known boxing coach, Donald Allison and the January 2006 murder of political activist Ronald Waddell. However, he was subsequently released on bail.
According to reports, Khan was held by local law enforcement authorities in 2002 with a bullet proof vehicle with a cache of weapons as well as sophisticated cellular telecommunication interception equipment that is sold only with government authorisation.
However, the former GDF Chief said there was not sufficient evidence to prosecute Khan.
“Did we receive information that the State could have acted on criminally and lead a charge against Mr. Khan? I don’t think we did,” he said.
Best was further questioned how the party which spent 23 years in opposition and four years in the Government could not gather information to charge Khan upon his return for alleged crimes he was tied to.
“The party in opposition would have anecdotal evidence…,” he reasoned.
He said the party expected to find evidence gathered by the state.
President David on Wednesday said Khan is not being charged due to the lack of evidence and the refusal of persons to come forward.