Tony Vieira's Comments
22 October 2017


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(Aired 23 June 2003)

   This country never ceases to amaze me, the people who are in power seem to either have total contempt for us, or they think that we are all as stupid as they are.

   It has therefore been my unfortunate function to tell you when the septic tank reaches overflowing and cannot be tolerated.

    Let's start with the kidnapping of US embassy official Lesniak on 12th April 2003, after he was released the ransom being paid, almost a dozen FBI agents came to Guyana to conduct an investigation into the circumstances of the kidnapping. After several days Dr. Roger Luncheon announced that the FBI's investigations were complete and that their findings will be submitted to the police and that his government had also seen the report. The next day the police tell us that they are not aware of any report and that Luncheon must have put his foot in his mouth, again!

   Now anyone with a few functioning brain cells would have smelled the huge load of un-refrigerated fish, since no one in the police or the Minister of Home Affairs himself would dare to contradict Dr. Luncheon who most people think, with some justification, is in charge of almost everything in this government. 

   Luncheon did make a mistake but the mistake he made was not that the FBI were conducting independent investigations into the kidnapping, since it is clear that they were, the mistake was telling us that they were doing so as an independent agency outside of the normal police channels, thus the necessity to submit a report of their findings to the police.

   Clearly having made the statement Luncheon was advised that allowing the FBI to conduct an independent investigation in the country, we had yielded our sovereignty to the US. And that is why the police contradicted Luncheon and got away with it. To this day no member of the public has ever seen this report by the FBI, but the reason why most of us remained silent whilst our sovereignty was being prostituted was that we wanted to see the FBI's report and who it implicated.

   The FBI team then however returns to the US and very shortly thereafter they got a US Judge to issue a bench warrant for one Shawn Brown which would require the extradition of Brown to the US.

   Shawn Brown was one of the most wanted criminals in the country since he escaped from the Camp Street jail in February 2002, the police now tell us that he was responsible for quite a large chunk of the mayhem in the country since then, but Gajraj and Mc Donald had failed to find him even though on one occasion it is alleged that Brown was residing almost next door to the Minister for what appears to be several months.

   Shawn Brown knew a lot, perhaps too much, we will now never know, but he associated with the other criminals and knew who was involved in what, and in view of what happened next, I wonder who exactly was in charge of this crime spree. And what was the motivation for it.

   Clearly Brown could not be arrested after the US Judge issued that warrant since they would have demanded his presence in the US, and this government would have been left with no alternative but hand him over. The US Ambassador even threatened to close the Embassy here and our Government boys would not have liked that one bit, so they would have had to cooperate. And the Americans would have made Brown talk, as they did with Carroll. Perhaps what Brown had to say would implicate too many people in high places, he therefore had to go.

   So this dangerous and elusive criminal wanted by the police for nearly one year and three months was shot dead in Guyana the day after the newspaper announced that the warrant in the US had been issued for his arrest. Now I believe in coincidence as much as the next man, ladies and gentlemen  but isn't this one a strain on even the most trusting of us.

   Now we come to the 120 Kilograms of coke found on a ship which had a consignment of lumber from Guyana on board.

    This shipment of "lumber-caine" or "coke-umber" whichever [I think I'll label it a coke-umber shipment since the value of the Coke was far higher than the lumber] was intercepted with almost 2 billion G dollars of coke by the British authorities since the 29th May 2003 and the men who are involved in embarrassing this nation in this manner, have not been identified, much less charged. Why is that? Are those who are supposed to charge them, involved themselves? Can't these people see that you are fooling no one? In the absence of any information and the deafening silence on this matter by the authorities the Guyana Public and the rest of the Diplomatic Community will conclude, as I do, that a member or supporter of the Government is involved, and it can impact negatively on our national economy?

   This paralysis on the part of the persons who are supposed to be doing this job for the people of this nation leads one to draw only the most adverse inferences. Since the 8th June we have been getting the royal run around from our Minister of Home Affairs who seems incapable of contacting Scotland Yard or the local British High Commission to find out who exactly shipped this container. The file is coming we are told. Well this delay in getting the "file" allows the perpetrators to exit the country and therefore the jurisdiction of our police, is that the plan?

   Now ladies and gentlemen to load a container on a ship bound for a foreign port entails as much paperwork, especially in this country, than the constitution.

   This was lumber, so, first of all, the person shipping the lumber must get an export permit from the Forestry Commission, then he has to get an export license from the Ministry of Trade, having been approved by the Ministry of Trade the exporter then takes these two documents to the customs and fill out what is called a C 72 Form, now listen to this carefully ladies and gentlemen; to fill out this C 72 form the person who is exporting the lumber must identify himself with his customs export registration number, if he is exporting for someone else, he must provide not only the exporter's registration number but his own, personal, registration number, which he, as the declearant must have, the schedule B section of C 72 Form tells customs who the exporter is by his specific registration number and the name of the person he is shipping to; a valuation is then placed on the lumber and it is given to the shipper in this case EWL whose local agent happens to be John Fernandes, who then fill out their own forms called the bill of laden which has all of the above documents attached to it and they put it on the ship.

    In the UK the consignee and his cronies were arrested around the 8th of June and placed before the courts, and the UK authorities must have had in their possession these shipping documents which were seized by the British police along with the cargo of coke-umber. All the police here have to do is to pick up the phone and ask the British High Commission who the consigner was from Guyana. It is a matter of public record in the British courts.

     It's been 14 days and Gajraj cannot tell us who the consigner of this shipment of coke-umber is, and I don't care how many containers of lumber were on that ship, only one was seized with the drug and the documents for it has been presented in the British courts as evidence, those same documents are on record here in Guyana at several entities/agencies, so what is the problem? This transaction leaves a paper trail 1 mile wide but Gajraj cannot find it for over 14 days, so he is hiding something or is even more incompetent than we think. My opinion is that he is covering up incompetently; I know that he knows more then he is telling us, but we want to know don't we ladies and gentlemen? 

     We were told that Scotland Yard, who were chasing this particular gang of drug dealers for nearly two years will be coming here to conduct further investigations, they have apparently not arrived as yet, I wonder why? Suddenly they are not coming anymore! It gets stranger and stranger doesn't it ladies and gentlemen? But when and if they do come, are we going to yield our sovereignty to them again to conduct an independent investigation and will they then simply return to the UK and leave the people in this country in the dark as the FBI did?

   Of one thing there can be no doubt whoever this exporter of this coke-umber is, he is very high up the hierarchy of the PPP to warrant a cover up of this magnitude.