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Leader of the PNCR Robert Corbin has described as "irresponsible, inflammatory and provocative' statements made on Thursday by Cabinet Secretary, Roger Luncheon at his fortnightly press briefing.

Speaking with Stabroek News in New Amsterdam yesterday the party leader said Dr. Luncheon's accusations will only serve to create tensions in the society and incite some supporters of the PNCR. He is calling on the police and the Government to take the necessary steps to arrest those whom they say were responsible for the killing of Agriculture Minister Satyadeow Sawh, his brother, sister and a security guard at the Minister's LBI home last Saturday morning.

The Head of the Presidential Secretariat told reporters that members of Parliament and representatives of the PNCR have been in contact with bandits in Buxton. He was reported as saying that in the past the explanation given was that a constituency allows for PNC/R parliamentarians and supporters to visit the area. This, he said, was extended to contacts with the gunmen. According to Luncheon it is now for the opposition party to respond to these concerns. The police he added have confirmed that the killings at LBI last Saturday were politically motivated.

According to the Government Information Agency (GINA), Luncheon added that the "question as to who is connected with the gang in Buxton, I think the administration and the police and the army intelligence community have all been able to verify that there has been contact, on and off, between the representatives of the People's National Congress Reform … and the bandits in Buxton.

"So the question of with whom are they linked I think can safely be addressed among the political, the body politic, the entire spectrum by pointing unerringly to the PNCR. One would then have to draw conclusion as to the nature of the engagement, the purpose of the engagement and allow the PNCR, if no one else, to respond to those concerns".

The police had issued a release following the Minister's killing suggesting that persons who were involved in the massacre at Agricola/Eccles were involved in the execution of the Minister. They had also said that ballistics tests had traced some of the weapons used at Agricola/Eccles to those used by gunmen in Buxton. Dr. Luncheon was also quoted as saying on Thursday that "identifying the killers as part of the Buxton gang and identifying political parties and individuals who have been in contact with that gang should not be presumed to constitute linkages between the killing of the Minister and members of the PNCR."

However Corbin views Luncheon' statements as an attempt to breed confrontation and urged the Government not to jeopardize the gains the country has achieved over the years. "If Dr. Luncheon, the police or the Government has any information on the perpetrators of the murders at LBI they should move to arrest those persons. It is very unfortunate that while President (Bharrat) Jagdeo is calling for national unity and cohesion at this time, Dr. Luncheon is expressing such inflammatory statements" he noted. He reiterated his call earlier this week for all political leaders to meet as a matter of urgency to find a way out of the present crisis facing the country. According to Corbin he has not yet received a reply from President Jagdeo to a letter sent to him last Saturday seeking an urgent meeting to discuss the security situation in the country.

Referring to Luncheon's statements as "a dangerous path" the attorney-at-law said "the attack on Minister Sawh and his family is not an attack on any one party or group but an attack on the functioning of the state.

All parliamentarians, politicians and senior functionaries are at risk and as a result the situation requires a national not partisan approach."

Such assertions as those made by the Cabinet Secretary, the party leader said, could lead to serious divisions and conflict among Guyanese and should be condemned by all peace loving citizens. "I hope that sanity and good judgement would prevail. This is a time for sane reflection and good judgement" he told this newspaper. "It is also my hope that the Government has learnt from our historical elections experiences and does nothing to infuriate or inflame an already tense situation."

Some Berbicians with whom this newspaper spoke yesterday also called on the police to explore and investigate all possible angles to the killings on Saturday including the alleged Buxton link. According to some sources the fact that the police have already deemed the Minister's murder a political assassination without anyone being arrested and/or charged is indeed food for thought.

This claim, however, should not be manipulated by politicians the sources say for their own agendas and purposes when the nation stands on the edge of a serious security and constitutional crisis. Corbin was expected to speak at a public meeting late yesterday afternoon at Belladrum on the West Coast of Berbice.

Stabroek News
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