Three Guyanese officials in trouble

In a sign that the new Donald Ramotar administration is not waiting on the combined opposition to force it to act on key issues, authorities are moving to take action against three high ranking officials involved in separate police incidents in recent weeks including an attempt by a presidential adviser to kill an opposition supporter by running her down with a state vehicle.

Presidential advisers Kwame McKoy and Odinga Lumumba as well as Police Chief Henry Greene have all come under the public spotlight and could see their stories being played out in the public domain unlike anything that has happened on the political scene since the governing People’s Progressive Party (PPP) won power in 1992.

Greene 57, could be in the hottest water in the coming weeks as a 34-year-old married woman has made damming and well publicized allegations that he raped her at a city hotel owned by a close friend several weeks ago.

McKoy and Lumumba on the other hand are headed to court for trials linked to bad behavior on election day and in the hours leading up to the Nov. 28 presidential and general elections that the PPP won by a whisker, 32 seats to the combined opposition of 33.

In an unprecedented move, police on Friday hauled local ‘White House’ spokesman McKoy before a magistrate on three separate counts of assault including one of causing actual bodily harm against a supporter of the main opposition A Partnership For National Unity (APNU).

As stated by police prosecutors, McKoy is alleged to have used a state vehicle to knock APNU supporter Natalia Ross unconscious as the two rival political camps fought for control of utility poles to mount promotional posters.

In the other incident, Clifton Steward alleged that McKoy had used a pistol to gun-butt him again as they argued over control of a pole to mount campaign materials, while on the third he was booked on a threatening language charge.

Under the previous Bharrat Jagdeo regime, McKoy would probably have walked away a free man but for signals from the APNU and the Alliance For Change (AFC) with seven seats, that they will use their control of parliament to effect the type of change in the country that citizens, rights groups, local media, the church and opposition politicians had been calling for more than a decade.

The court allowed McKoy to leave on self bail but ordered him to stay out of trouble and surrender his passport to authorities, while reminding to return in late February possibly for the start of his trial.

But even as authorities picked enough political pluck to charge him, shades of their old ‘protect the boys’ ways were evident as a clear case of attempted murder using a vehicle as a weapon was not instituted nor was a charge of using as weapon preferred as it is not bailable.

Lumumba, a legislator and adviser on empowerment issues on the other hand, says he expects to face assault charges this week in relation to an election day incident during which he allegedly assaulted a presiding officer at a polling station, damaging her mobile phone.He has since replaced the instrument.

Lumumba said at the weekend that he is aware that charges have been recommended against him and he will hire the best lawyers to defend himself.

But the situation with Greene is very different. A woman has come forward with allegations that she had approached Greene for help in a matter and got raped instead.

Greene has not denied the charge nor knowing the woman, saying only that God will be his judge but has also only said that he will defend his name even as calls mount for his resignation and as ex-senior officers and local media hark back to a history of similar problems.

In one incident the mid 90s, serving officers had to rescue a woman from Greene’s grasp after he had attacked her at the senior officer’s club with intentions of taking her to his quarters.

Government officials have not said anything on the issue but have quietly identified Crime Chief Seelall Persaud to replace him in the coming weeks. It is unclear when he will be charged.

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