U. S Embassy cable says…
A U. S. Embassy cable has quoted businessman Peter Ramsaroop as saying that the killing of five Kaieteur News press men might have been the work of convicted drug trafficker Shaheed “ Roger” Khan.
Following the killing of the press men on August 8, 2006, the then Deputy Chief of Mission of the U. S. Embassy, Michael Thomas, told Washington that uncertainty remained over the gunmen’s motive.
However, on August 10, 2006, Thomas said he spoke by phone with Ramsaroop, described as an aspiring politician, who gave him details of a long conversation he had on August 3, 2006 with Lall.
Kaieteur News Publisher Glenn Lall, in another cable, was described as someone with a sketchy past who has his finger firmly on the pulse of Guyana’s criminal underworld. “ He has translated a shoe trading business and rumoured involvement with alien smuggling into a ‘ muck raking’ newspaper,” the cable said.
According to Ramsaroop, Lall confided that convicted drug trafficker Roger Khan was blackmailing those whom he helped protect during the 2002- 2004 crime spree.
“ Khan may need funds to pay his legal bills or to finance his vulnerable drug trafficking operation,” the U. S. Embassy cable said.
Ramsaroop told Thomas that Lall refused those demands, and as a result was fearful of becoming a target. In this scenario, gunmen controlled by Khan’s organisation killed the KN employees to send a clear message to others who do not want to pay up, Ramsaroop said, according to the cable.
However, Lall saw a political hand in the killings.
According to another cable, a U. S. Embassy official met Lall on August 13 to discuss the killings, at which time Lall said he believed the attack was politically motivated.
According to the cable, Lall felt that the gang targeted his newspaper because “ it is such a public and high- profile institution”, although he also intimated that the attackers may have expected to find weapons at the printery.
One wonders why this was so? The cable said Lall also insisted that he knows some of the gang members, who were as young as 12, and he alluded to the fact that the paper had been targeted in the past. “ Lall described a grenade attack a few years ago, when his printery was set on fire, as apparently the work of a drug kingpin who objected to the Kaieteur News’ coverage of his kidnapping.” “ Lall himself has an interesting past, with possible connection to alien smuggling ( backtracking)”. President Bharrat Jagdeo has only recently accused the newspaper publisher of being involved in back tracking, a claim he has refused to address when he was contacted by this newspaper. Additionally, the cable said that Lall acknowledged rumours that he had hired ex- members of Roger Khan’s so- called Phantom Squad to provide security for his office and his wife’s shoe business.