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Heightened security at President Ramotar’s inaugural ceremony

As persons gathered to witness the swearing in ceremony of Guyana’s seventh executive President Donald Ramotar, there were security units all over. The police from early in the day cordoned off the blocks around State House to ensure that only those invited got in.

The Office of the President sent out a small number of invitations to mainly the diplomatic corps and some of them were allowed their security detail on the lawns of State House. However, it was Freedom House that got the bulk of the invitations (some 450 to be precise) for all those people and supporters to attend the ceremony of the new President.

Some of the characters who descended upon the lawns came with official invitations and questionable pasts. A character well known to the Guyana police was there, he had been charged several times before. He subsequently offered his services to the PPPC administration during the election campaign. A former member of the phantom squad was there. His earlier presence on the campaign trail led to the ruling party and the past administration coming in for criticism over its involvement with criminal elements. Law enforcement officials say that the former phantom squad member was recruited by a Minister of the Guyanese Government who has had his own credentials questioned because of links to a former convicted drug lord.

Even more compelling were the appearances on State House lawns of at least one fugitive from US justice, former drug couriers and deportees all who found a place within spitting distance of the new president and of the US and other ambassadors whose jurisdictions either held them for narcotics or still want them for the same and other crimes.

The Minister of Home Affairs when questioned about the presence of these characters on the lawns feigned ignorance of the fact that they were there. He denied that they were ever recruited by the Party’s headquarters Freedom House.

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