It is certainly not the first time that a governing People’s Progressive Party (PPP) home affairs or national security minister has found himself embroiled in scandal linked to members of a still active death squad that terrorized the country a few years ago.
Previously, it was Ronald Gajraj, the disgraced former army lieutenant whose American visa was revoked after it became clear that he was the hidden hand behind a private death squad that had hunted down criminal suspects and even ordinary Guyanese involved in private family and other feuds.
The squad which had reported to Gajraj and other top government officials had killed dozens of young men during a violent period between 2002-05 when police counted more than 400 killings, many of them drive-bys.
This time, incumbent Clement Rohee is at the center of allegations by Guyanese computer specialist Kevin Lall that Rohee had forced him in the presence of a death squad member and senior police officials to hack into the Emails and websites of opposition politicians, journalists and political activists despite his protests to the contrary.
Recently granted political asylum with his wife in Canada, Lall in sworn testimony had accused authorities of abducting his wife, taking her to the Celina Resort on the sea shore, stripping her almost naked and forcing him to bring down the sites against his will while offering him large sums to do the dirty cyber trick back 2009. Lall fled to Canada as that year ended.
Opposition politicians have called for an official probe into the story on the basis that it was both credible and detailed enough for an experienced Canadian judge to decide to grant the family asylum, much to the embarrassment of authorities.
For his party, Rohee attacked the Canadian immigration hearing system as flawed, saying it has no provisions for offended victims like him to respond to chargs made by applicants desperate to stay in Canada.
Rohee in a statement called the story as ludicrous, containing “wild and unsubstantiated allegations,” and questioned why no reports were made to local police. He even accused the team which had put together the case for Lall of “duping the Canadian authorities into believing his story.”
As well, he denied that the state would be involved in abduction and cybercrime, noting that Lall and his team have not even “a scintilla of evidence,” as he called the allegations” reckless and tantamount to creating public mischief.”
As the week ended, Balwant Persaud, the consultant who presented Lall’s case to the Canadians went after Rohee in a newspaper letter demanding to know why the Americans had revoked his visa and whether it had made any sense to report the matter to the man in charge of the force and other para military services.