By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] –President Donald Ramotar says he is very concerned following the recent revelation at the ongoing Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry (COI) that some 155 deadly army guns that were given to the People’s National Congress (PNC) administration during the period 1976 -1979 remain unreturned.
At a press conference today, Friday, August 29, he called on Opposition Leader and Leader of the PNC, David Granger whom he observed was Commander in the Army during the period to ensure the weapons are returned.
“When the weapons were given to the PNC, its present Leader was the Commander of the Army… now that he is the Leader of PNC, I expect he will make genuine efforts to have the guns returned to the Army,” the President said.
Senior Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Officer Lieutenant Colonel Sydney James had testified that some 237 army weapons were issued to the persons within the Office of the Prime Minister and Ministry of National Development during the PNC reign.
He testified that records show only 82 were returned, leaving some 155 outstanding and unaccounted for.
President Ramotar fear that these guns may very well have found its way into the hands of criminals; recalling the two Army guns that were recovered during a shootout between police and bandits in Mahaica in 2009.
When asked about the efforts taken by the Defence Board to have the Army weapons returned, the President said the Board which is headed by Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon is yet to meet.
It is important to note however, that Lieutenant Colonel James had claimed that a report on the missing weapons was compiled after the two were discovered in 2009 and submitted to the Board.
To this end, the Head of State could not give and definite answer on the steps taken to recover the weapons but stated that it remains a standing order to the armed forces to get the weapons back.
The President expressed worry too over the 31 AK 47s that went missing during the most recent crime spree.
“That’s a lot out there at this point and time and that can find its way into criminal communities,” the President said; adding that “We have long talked about links between the opposition to crime, we said that the situation in Buxton could not have lasted so long had there not been political support and these are the things we fight today.”
Ramotar said the Opposition Leader likes to talk of the COI except when it comes to these things. He has committed to ensuring that law enforcement agencies continuously make attempts to have the weapons returned.
Meanwhile, the President said the COI into the Friday June 13, 1980 death of Dr. Walter Rodney has been extremely useful.
He believes it is coming close the revealing the truth of what happened during that period.