Lindo Creek CoI…raises conflict of interest concerns, witch-hunting campaignThe People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) on Wednesday said the Lindo Creek Commission of Inquiry (CoI) was established with a clear political objective, highlighting the fact that the Commission was also set up along partisan lines and is being headed only by one individual.Opposition Leader Bharrat JagdeoIn a strongly worded statement, the main Opposition party lashed out at the coalition Government for the manner in which the CoI was established. The Party said it notes the unilateral establishment of the Commission, like others named under the Government, underscoring the deviation from the approach of the PPP Government to have bi-partisan talks.“It appears that this Commission was established with a political objective. Due to the partisan approach in establishing the Commission, which does not inspire trust and confidence, persons with vital information may be reluctant to come forward,” the Party speculated.The PPP said given the nature of the Commission’s establishment and the decision to start an inquiry with the incidents at Lindo Creek, as opposed to a more comprehensive review of the crime wave, the Party would find it difficult to participate in any of the events.The PPP/C also registered concerns over the obvious conflict of interest in naming a Commissioner, who is the father of a sitting Cabinet Minister and Leader of the Alliance For Change (AFC), one of the partners of the coalition Government, Raphael Trotman, who holds the portfolio for natural resources.The political Opposition said this move speaks to the growing trend of nepotistic taking place under the current Government, arguing that it should not be encouraged to continue. The Party also raised concerns over one single person being appointed to probe the Lindo Creek massacre.More importantly, however, the PPP noted that Minister Joseph Harmon’s statement in relation to the Commission being able to determine whether any senior officer should be sent on leave during the period of the inquiry highlights that this undertaking is aimed towards another witch-hunt.The Party hinted that this witch-hunting exercise might target top officials of the joint security forces, making reference to the establishment of the Paul Slowe Commission of Inquiry and the Government’s interference in the Police Service Commission’s promotion of senior Police Officers.“The PPP wishes to make clear that it will vehemently reject any attempts to erode the level of professionalism of Guyana’s security forces and the undermining of the functions of the civilian law enforcement authorities of Guyana,” a statement from the Party added.The PPP also claimed that the order signed by President David Granger, which establishes the Commission and defines its Terms of Reference remains a mystery since it has not been published as is required by law in the Official Gazette up to the time of Trotman’s swearing in.Former President Bharrat Jagdeo said on Tuesday that events pre-2002 have to be taken into account, stating that the involvement of the People’s National Congress (PNC) (the majority partner in the coalition) in the killings and civil disturbances preceding that year must be investigated.“I believe that no inquiry will be complete unless there is a comprehensive review of what took place and who the operatives were, particularly the political operatives,” he said in a statement.Jagdeo, who incidentally serves as the Opposition Leader, also highlighted several other incidents that the PNC has been named in. “Where are the 155 high-powered military weapons that were loaned to the PNC’s Ministry of National Development?” Jagdeo questioned.The former Head of State reminded that he has already made available to the media and publicly gone through the list of 400 young black men, which was circulated by the PNC, and shown that the authors of that list unashamedly included the names of victims of the crime wave, civilians and security forces.“That number has been mysteriously increased to 1431 by Minister Harmon. A credibly-constituted Commission of Inquiry, staffed by international jurists, will expose the intellectual authors behind the crime wave of the 2000s, including the political operatives who were involved,” Jagdeo stated.Jagdeo had previously expressed a willingness to help in drafting the CoI’s Terms of Reference and to also make his former Government officials available for questioning once they had specific information.