– slams ‘nonsense’ that goes on in the Government by a ‘useless bunch of ministers’
The Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU) could upsurge some of the most powerful functions of the Guyana Police Force while at the same time giving it other far-reaching powers that could see it pursuing political opponents and targets.
This was the position adumbrated by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo after reviewing the recently released protocols for the entity which were approved by the Government under the hand of Vice President and Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan.
According to Jagdeo, it is clear that the protocols in the current form have bestowed upon SOCU close to 21 new roles and areas of responsibility outside of its original remit and legal obligation to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and the fight against Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism.
Reading just one section of the released protocols, Jagdeo advised that SOCU could now investigate matters relating to trafficking in persons, sexual exploitation of children, illicit trafficking in narcotics, illegal arms and ammunition, corruption and bribery, counterfeiting, and environmental crimes.
“Murders, kidnapping, robbery or theft, smuggling, forgery, insider trading and tax evasion” were also part of the list of matters that could engage the attention of SOCU, Jagdeo added. He then quizzed: “What else is there for the police force to do?”
The Opposition Leader contended too that confusion arises after he learnt that the Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister, Basil Williams, expressed the view that SOCU should not be under the remit of the Guyana Police Force but under the control of the Financial Intelligence Unit.
“This is the nonsense that goes on in the Government. They are (a) useless bunch of ministers. They do not even know what they are doing. The incompetence is phenomenal and unbelievable”, he maintained as he criticized the lack of coordination and organisation within the Government.
He could not understand the rationale behind giving SOCU all of these powers when there are existing laws that cover these things.
“If you have fake DVDs and CDs, they will be coming after you. Its hard to even comment on things like these,” the former President declared.
The recently released SOCU protocols have been an area of controversy following a series of actions by the entity which resulted in the loss of life, questions about its remit and functionality and concerns about the targeting of Opposition politicians.