Sunday, April 6, 2008

President JAGDEO: Govt will not negotiate with Criminals

Guyana President: Govt will not negotiate with criminals

Juhel Browne
Sunday, April 6th 2008
Guyana's President Bharrat Jagdeo said yesterday that while there were people who wanted to negotiate a "power sharing" deal with his administration on behalf of the criminal gang leader who was behind the two recent massacres in his country, he would never make any such deal.
"We're going to hunt this guy down and we're going to get him, this gang. My government does not negotiate with criminals," Jagdeo said yesterday.
He said there was a core of "white collar people" in Guyana who tried to justify the massacres saying the gang's leader was fighting for a cause.
"There can be no cause for what he was fighting for. He is a criminal and he will be treated as such and they are offering to mediate on behalf of the Government, that you require power sharing to stop this kind of killing. We reject all of that. We're not going to mediate with criminals," Jagdeo said.
He did so while speaking to reporters during the Caricom Heads of Government special meeting on crime and security at the Hilton Trinidad hotel. Twenty three people, including children and women, were left dead after gunmen opened fire in the towns of Lusignan and Bartica earlier this year.
Trinidad and Tobago provided a helicopter and special weapons to the Guyana security forces to assist them in their manhunt following the slayings.
Jagdeo said yesterday that a special law enforcement unit has been established "that will hunt this group down."
He also called for the United States, which he called an important partner of Caricom, to do more to help better secure the region.
In a separate media briefing yesterday, Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding also called for US assistance with regard to intelligence gathering and maritime and air security.
"Ultimately, it is a matter that affects both the Caribbean and the United States," Golding said.
He also responded to an Amnesty International report that severely criticized Jamaica for its human rights record in law enforcement and acknowledged there was a problem in this regard.
"We accept that there are serious deficiencies in Jamaica in addressing human rights, particularly as it relates to the treatment of our citizens by our security forces. We have extra-judicial killings that are unacceptable," Golding said.