link to Roger Khan: The Obstacle to a Black Militant Campaign
Embattled businessman Roger Khan yesterday said
that a US Grand Jury indictment of him on a drug charge was motivated
by political considerations and he again said he worked closely
with the police force in combating the 2002 crime spree, helping
in the bid to free a kidnapped American diplomat.
Khan, who has been in hiding here since
local police issued a warrant for his arrest after several of
his businesses were searched, said the indictment against him
is intended to pave the way
for the opposition PNCR to fulfil its political ambitions by any
means necessary and that the United States, the Guyana Defence
Force (GDF) and the Guyana Police Force (GPF) are complicit in
PNCR spokesperson on crime, Debra Backer last
evening told Stabroek News that she had not seen the statement
but she presumed that it would be dealt with at the party's press
conference today. She, however, said that the party had no intention
of allowing Khan to distract it from its programme of work.
In response, the US embassy in Georgetown said it is inviting
Khan to apply for a US visa through the normal procedures in order
for him to travel to the United States to be processed through
the country's judicial system. The GPF and the GDF had no comment.
The US statement was issued in reaction to one made by Khan, which
was issued through his lawyers yesterday. Khan's statement among
other things charged that he had a meeting with the Deputy US
Ambassador to Guy-ana and the US Regional Security Officer of
the Caribbean as recently as March this year. However, Public
Affairs Officer of the embassy Christine Meyer told Stabroek News
yesterday that as far as she was aware no such meeting was ever
held between the fugitive and the US officials.
The US District Court Eastern District of New
York unsealed a grand jury indictment on May 3 which charges that
Khan conspired to import drugs into the US between January 2001
and March 2006. The indictment was issued on April 13 by a grand
jury numbering 19 in a court in Brooklyn, New York. Local authorities
are still awaiting a formal request from the US for Khan's extradition
which is likely to happen shortly. According to the brief statement
by the US, "Mr. Khan is welcome to apply for a U.S. visa
through our normal procedures in order to travel to the U.S. so
that he can be processed through the U.S. judicial system."
Among other things, Khan through his lawyers:
Vic Puran and Glenn Hanoman denied that he conspired to import
cocaine into the US. His lawyers are also calling on the US to
present its witnesses to be cross-examined at any local extradition
proceedings so as to test the basis of the evidence brought against
Khan. Meanwhile, in a two-page statement released by one of Khan's
lawyers yesterday, the fugitive said that the grand jury indictment
and anything flowing from it, including a request for his extradition
have been motivated by political considerations.
He said that he is perceived by persons in the USA, the Police
Force, the Army and the PNCR as someone who has the will and capacity
to fight crime and to protect the people of Guyana against a coup
d'etat. According to Khan, during the crime spree in 2002, he
worked closely with the crime-fighting section of the police force
and provided them with assistance and information at his own expense.
He said his participation was instrumental in curbing crime during
that period. Khan has made this assertion before and questions
have been raised about what role he played exactly. During this
period, several death squads emerged and a number of the escapees
from the Camp Street prison, who sparked the orgy of crime, and
dozens of suspects and other persons, were gunned down in murky
Contacted for a comment on the Khan statement both the police
and army declined. Government spokesman, Robert Persaud said that
he had not seen the statement, but even if he had seen it, there
would be no response to a statement by such an individual.
the Chief of Staff, Brig. Edwards Collins.
Khan charged in his statement that, when American
diplomat, Steve Lesniak was kidnapped from the Lusignan golf course
and taken to the village of Buxton during the height of the crime
wave in 2003, he (Khan) met with operatives from the American
Embassy on a daily basis and provided them with information and
hard evidence that led to the issuance of an arrest warrant for
escapee Shawn Browne. Browne was accused of masterminding the
kidnapping. Lesniak was subsequently freed after a ransom was
paid but this was said to be a turning point in the crime fight
as several of the escapees and other known bandits were mysteriously
killed after this.
Khan said that he met with American operatives
including the Deputy US Ambassador and the US regional security
officer of the Caribbean in March this year at the Ocean View
International Hotel, Liliendaal. At that meeting which lasted
for over three hours, Khan said he provided the US officials with
evidence that sections of the security forces in Guyana had strong
political motives for encouraging and protecting the so-called
armed resistance of Buxton. Meyer denied that there was ever such
meeting with Khan and the officials. She said as far as she knew
it was a fabrication on Khan's part.
Khan's statement said that from the time the GDF started to play
a role in the country's crime problem in 2002 and now again in
2006, their real target has been him, leading to his arrest in
2002 and the targeting of his business premises and persons connected
to him this year. Khan, Haroon Yahya and Sean Belfield were nabbed
at Good Hope, East Coast Demerara near to an assortment of high-powered
weapons and sophisticated electronic equipment by a GDF patrol.
The trio was charged and taken to court but the matter was subsequently
dismissed. Recently the US named Khan in a drug report as a drug
According to Khan's statement, the timing of the requests by the
Americans for his extradition is no coincidence. The US has not
made any formal requests for Khan to be extradited as yet, although
a senior official at the embassy in Georgetown said that this
would be done shortly. "It has coincided
with a period of Guyana's history when the country's security
is most at risk and most vulnerable to a coup d'etat,"
the accused drug trafficker said.
Khan said his indictment is actuated by
bad faith so that he might be punished, detained and restricted
in his movements. He charged that the plan is to set the scene
for the PNCR to thwart the democratic process and to fulfil its
political ambitions by any means necessary. He contended that
the silence of the American Embassy concerning matters of national
security is tacit approval of the violent depths to "which
we have recently plunged".
PNC Vice Chairman, Basil Williams; right, Police Commissioner,
Winston Felix, and Minister Gail Teixeira.
He said that it took a grand jury less time to indict him than
it is taking the American government to authenticate the voices
on the taped recording allegedly between Commissioner of Police,
Winston Felix and PNCR Vice Chairman, Basil Williams. "The
disinclination of the Americans to do the authentication and their
unwillingness to even comment on my stated close relationship
with Felix should be compared with their previous eagerness to
listen to the likes of (self-professed death squad informant George)
Bacchus, when the professionalism of a PPP/C government minister
(Ronald Gajraj) was in question."
Khan alleged that the US has been acting in
collusion with leaders of the police, army and the PNCR. The businessman
also attacked US policies, saying that one of the world's richest
nations aided and abetted a criminal rebellion in Haiti to remove
a democratically elected government. Khan said that Latin America
is moving away from US hegemony and now socialist governments
are in place in Venezuela, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Cuba and Guyana.
He said that Guyana has once again assumed geopolitical importance
and as such it is crucial for American interests to install a
puppet regime here. According to the indictment, the Grand Jury
charged that between January 2001 and March 2006 within the Eastern
District of New York and elsewhere, Khan together with others,
knowingly and intentionally conspired to import a controlled substance
He was charged in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section
963 and 952 (a). Under US law, Khan faces a minimum of ten years
to a maximum of life in prison for the offence based on the amount
of cocaine imported.
[Editor's Note: This article
was sent to and published in Stabroek News under the
title, "Drug charge motivated by politics."]