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…Harmon says justice for the grieving families being politically derailed
The Leader of the Opposition, Joseph Harmon is accusing President Irfaan Ali of downright refusing to have the State pay for an Argentinian Team travel to Guyana to investigate the heinous murders of Isaiah and Joel Henry, and Haresh Singh. And while the Government has not directly refuted the claim, in lashing out at the Opposition Leader, it said the general statement is nothing but erratic, baseless and absurd.
“The APNU+AFC Coalition has received credible information that President Irfaan Ali, in a private meeting with the Henry families, bluntly refused to have the state bear the cost of the independent Argentinian Investigative Team,” the Opposition Leader said in a statement on Friday.
According to him, the cost for the team to travel to Guyana and execute their work amounts to approximately US$35,000.
And while that amounts to approximately GUY$7.3M, the Opposition Leader said the President has adamantly refused to provide the funding, though his Government, less than two months into office, spent over $220M on brand new vehicles for himself; the Vice President, Bharrat Jagdeo; and Prime Minister, Mark Phillips.
“The Henry families deserve and demand justice and no stone must be left unturned and no effort must be spared in ensuring that justice is delivered,” Harmon said.
He added: “The families have reported that the investigative team, including Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum, is refusing to answer their telephone calls and it appears as though there is a concerted effort to derail the investigations.”
Reports suggest that the results of the DNA tests conducted did not match any of the suspects who were previously arrested and released. “It is clear that there is a well-orchestrated effort, involving the police and under high level political direction to thwart the investigations,” the Opposition Leader said while demanding that independent, international investigations into the killings of the Isaiah and Joel Henry and Haresh Singh be conducted.
According to him, the State is duty-bound to support an independent investigation. “The mothers of the Henry boys and Haresh Singh must not continue to shed tears in vain and live in continued torment without closure and justice,” he said.
But the Government dit not take lightly the statement issued by the Opposition Leader.
Describing the claims as absurd, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) accused the Opposition Leader of inciting crime and violence in the West Coast Berbice (WCB) where the murders took place in early September. “This is the very Harmon, who after meeting with the relatives of the deceased, issued certain irresponsible and inflammatory statements, which were shortly followed by blockages of the Public Road, the beating, robbing, sexual molestation and inconveniencing of thousands of Guyanese, along the West Coast Berbice roadway. There was also loss and damage to public and private property to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars,” the Government said.
It further accused the Opposition of asking the families of the murdered “Henry Boys” to tell the Regional Security Service team from CARICOM that the murders were politically motivated. “Mr. Harmon should reveal who this politician is,” the Government stated.
It said also rejected Harmon’s contention that Government has spent $220M on the purchase of new vehicles for the President, Vice-President and the Prime Minister. “The Government rejects this allegation as both false and reckless. To date, there has been no procurement of any new vehicles for any of the aforementioned persons. A sum of money was budgeted for the acquisition of new vehicles for the entire governmental apparatus in the 2020 budget. This was as a result of the Government being unable to conduct a proper inventory of the fleet of vehicles it inherited by the time the budget was ready for presentation,” the Government said.
In return, it accused the APNU+AFC Government of spending billions of dollars in the acquisition of motor vehicles, overseas travels, meals, other luxuries and unnecessary expenditures.
It reminded the public of its commitment to establish a Commission of Inquiry into the killings of the Henry boys and Haresh Singh. “The Government does not need sanctimonious outpourings from Mr. Harmon on this issue. However, it calls upon Mr. Harmon to stop playing his cheap and insensitive politics with the pain and sorrow of the grieving family,” it saud.