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Peeping Tom

The matter begins and ends with the statement

You can be sure of one thing. No one is going to demand an international investigation into the allegations contained in the recent statement purported to have been made by Mr. Roger Khan.

No one will bother to protest in the streets demanding an international commission of inquiry. No one will go hunting for telephone records that will seek to either establish or debunk that Khan had the contacts with US Embassy officials and local law-enforcement agencies as the statements issued under his name have alleged.

The United Nations will not get involved. And the local diplomatic community will not be lobbied to take a stand.

The press is hardly likely to follow up this matter further. The US Embassy has denied that there was a meeting between Khan and embassy officials in March of this year and this denial is likely to be sufficient enough to end the trail.

Khan is said to have issued the most recent statement through his lawyer. However you twist or turn it, it is a statement and can form the basis of further inquiries. But who will dare pursue the matter further? Khan is someone who the US State Department mentioned in unflattering terms in a recent report. Who will therefore dare to question whether what he is saying in the two public statements attributed to him have any credibility?

I hardly think that many of the local houses will find it a matter of public interest to investigate the claims made by Khan. One of the many claims was that he and a top local law enforcement official were once friends.

I am sure, however, if some local media houses were to get hold of a photograph of Khan and an official of the government, boy, that would be a headline scoop the next day!

I am also not confident that many within the local media would be actively seeking to determine whether Khan had at any time been giving information to embassy officials. And yet precisely this is the sort of story that could make the career of any local journalist. For any journalist to establish that Khan had contacts and shared information with the US Embassy would be the scoop of the century. Very few of our journalists I believe, including those dying to make their names, would have an interest in following up these angles.

Contrast this with when one George Bacchus alleged that the former Minister of Home Affairs was involved in certain dubious activities. There were immediate calls for an investigation, even though the now deceased Bacchus never turned up at the police station to give a statement. Despite the obvious credibility problem with accepting what Bacchus had alleged after his brother had been gunned down, the local media were all over this story. And when a short time later it was exposed that there were telephone records which confirmed calls between one Axel Williams and the minister's phone, this became an international issue.

There is not likely however to be any similar calls in the present instance concerning the allegations said to have been made by Roger Khan. And it is the tragedy of Guyana that we practise such double standards.

In any other part of the world, the media would have asked that top official in the security sector whether or not he was ever a friend with Roger Khan. In any other part of the world, the claim that this man was assisting an official in the army in finding back the missing AK-47s would have had to be investigated and the press would have been all over the story. In any other part of the world, the new allegations would have been checked and doubled-checked for their accuracy.

I am not attributing any credibility at this stage to what is contained in the statements purported to have been issued in the name of Khan. I have said before that if anyone wants me to believe that they and someone else were friends they have to come better than merely stating this fact. I want to see evidence of friendship.

I however would have thought that our normally enthusiastic journalists would have pursued this lead to see whether it had any substance in it.

In the same vein, if as is now being claimed the US Embassy was assisted with information that established that it was the criminal Shawn Browne that was responsible for the kidnapping of American diplomat Steve Lesniak, then someone should be asking the US officials whether there is any truth in this claim. Also, the media should be trying to find out from Khan whether he can give proof there was contact between himself (Khan) and embassy officials.

These latest allegations of Khan however begin and end with the recently issued statement. The local journalists are not going to get excited by this matter, and no political party is going to take to the streets to raise a storm about possible contacts between the security forces and Roger Khan.

For all intents and purposes, the matter ends with the recent publication of the allegations, the denial by the US Embassy and the silence of the local security forces. This is the end of the matter, unless of course Khan can produce evidence to support the claims made in the statements.