By Fareeza Haniff
[www.inewsguyana.com] – In an obvious hostile mood today, General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party [PPP], Clement Rohee lashed out at the People’s National Congress Reform, telling them to “stop being hypocritical about gun crimes in Guyana.”
Rohee went on a tirade, accusing the Party of having links with the criminal underworld and benefitting financially from such links.
However, when questioned by the media, Rohee, who is also the country’s Home Affairs Minister, could not provide any evidence or say where he received his information.
He said, “The evidence is there to show the PNC’s strong connection with the criminal underworld, most recent being a photograph in circulation showing Mr Granger at a function on a seemingly deep conversation with Kevin Fields, an alleged bandit, who was shot and killed a few days ago.”
The photograph which Rohee refers to shows Mr Granger at a funeral, comforting the mother of Shaquille Grant, who was shot and killed by the Police last year, while Fields was giving her a bottle of water.
“This recent expose vindicates the PPP’s long held view that the PNC has criminal elements embedded in its ranks and who are assisting the PNC in furthering their political agenda.”
He then attacked the Stabroek News and Kaieteur News, accusing the two dailies of deliberately refusing to publish the photo and views it “as an attempt to cover up or protect the Opposition Leader.”
His rationale is that had it been a PPP Civic Government Minister or official of the ruling Party, “both the Kaieteur News and the Stabroek News would have spared no effort in making the story.”
Rohee also referred to the PNC’s alleged link to notorious gunman, Linden ‘Blackie’ London and the five prison escapees. He said there is evidence to show that “top PNC officials” visited the various hideouts of the Mash Day escapees.
“The PNC has never distanced itself from this claim,” Rohee told reporters. He further noted, “The PNC is reaping political and financial benefits from its association with the criminal underworld.” He also made reference to PNC lawyers defending alleged criminals in the Courts, pro bono.
Meanwhile, when it came down to questions from the media, veteran Journalist, Adam Harris pointed out to Rohee that he [Harris] took photographs of founder of the PPP and former President of Guyana, the Dr Cheddi Jagan and Azad Bacchus, a gunman who was shot and killed.
“…did that suggest that Dr Jagan was involved with criminal elements?” Harris asked.
Rohee folded his arms across his chest and responded: “I am dealing with a case of recent vintage that was current.”
When further pressed on the issue, in a hostile manner, he said, “I am not aware, acquainted nor do I recall that specific example to which you’re referring to.”
When further questioned on the evidence of the allegations made against the PNCR and why it was not provided to the law enforcement authorities, Rohee initially said the evidence will be “provided at some point,” and “at the appropriate time.”
When asked for evidence of a paper trail to back up allegations that the PNCR benefited from criminal elements, Rohee said, “I think it is the PNC to say that is not so. Ask Mr Granger at the next press conference and let him deny it.”
Harris then asked, “Would I be wrong to suggest Sir that you are hurling allegations without evidence, just making bland political statements with the hope that we will carry your statements as they are being made without challenge?”
Rohee responded: “No, no. It’s up to you whether you want to carry my statements or not. The responsibility is not on us to provide the evidence… I have said what I wanted to say on this matter.”
When asked again by a reporter from Stabroek News if he is able to state where he received the information provided at the press conference, the General Secretary noted, “Listen to me, I am going to repeat again, the onus or the burden is not on me to do so. If you want to verify anything that I’ve said, I think the best thing is to go to the APNU and ask Mr Granger.”