Georgetown, Guyana – (January 25, 2018) President David Granger and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, today, again expressed his intention to ensure a full investigation into the deaths of hundreds of Guyanese, including the former Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Satyadeow Sawh, during the period of ‘Troubles’.
In his address to the members of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) at the opening ceremony of the Annual Officers’ Conference at Base Camp Ayanganna, the President said that his administration will ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice. “Society has been scarred by violence, which left a lingering legacy of distrust with the potential of fresh disorder. Monuments at Bartica, Buxton and Eve Leary have been erected to the victims of violence during the ‘Troubles’ between 2002 and 2009. We still have an obligation to investigate those troubles and ensure that the culprits are brought to justice,” he said.
During most of the decade referred to by the Head of State, Guyana witnessed its most intense sustained wave of criminal violence since Independence. According to the President, there were 1,431 murders during that decade.
Speaking at the opening of the ‘Seminar on Tackling Domestic Abuse in Guyana’ on January 22, 2016, President Granger said that the previous administration never bothered to account to the nation for the hundreds of lives lost through criminal violence. “It refused even to conduct inquests into the assassinations of its own Minister of Agriculture at La Bonne Intention; of the Head of the Police Force’s Target Special Squad on the Linden-Soesdyke Highway; of the Deputy Head of the Customs [Anti]-Narcotics Unit in Buxton and of the attempted assassination of the Director of Public Prosecution in Kitty. It refused to conduct inquiries into the massacres in Agricola, Bagotstown-Eccles, Bartica, Bourda, Campbellville, Kitty, Lamaha Gardens, Lindo Creek, Lusignan and elsewhere. A generation of Guyanese – which was an unwilling witness to criminal violence – has now grown up. The agony, anger and alienation caused by violence against citizens, especially the innocent and the young still simmer. The crimes have not been explained. The memories have not been erased,” the President said.
President Granger, on January 18, 2018 at the handing over ceremony of the Report of the Security Sector Reform Project (SSRP), said that the ‘Troubles,’ no doubt, was the consequence of a high-level condonation of or complicity with, the rise of drug cartels and the importation of illegal narcotics and weapons. These crimes, he said, brought an unprecedented wave of criminal violence into the country during the first decade of the century with the consequence being a bloody battle to extend drug empires and to eliminate anyone who resisted them.
While serving as Opposition Leader, President Granger had called for a Commission of Inquiry (COI) into those criminal activities, which resulted in the loss of lives. In 2013, he took a motion before the National Assembly and called on the then People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) Government to appoint the COI to probe criminal violence from 2004 to 2010. He made specific mention of the former Agriculture Minister’s death as well as the Lusignan, Lindo Creek and Bartica massacres. The motion put forward by President Granger at the time was deferred on a number of occasions.