Pradoville 2 investigations– says SOCU should have made other arrangements to question him Days after former President and current Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo had been arrested and detained at the Headquarters of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) – a department of the Guyana Police Force – Head of State, President David Granger, declared that the former Guyanese Leader should notFormer President and now Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo (right) leaving CID headquarters last Tuesday in the company of Attorney Sanjeev Datadinhave been treated the way he was.President Granger’s sentiments were first expressed on Wednesday, when he meet with the Opposition Leader for their second round of consultations on the appointment of a Chairman for the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM). According to Opposition Member of Parliament and former Attorney General Anil Nandlall, who had accompanied Jagdeo to the meeting, the President was apologetic, claiming that he was unaware of the incidents, and that it was Minister of State Joseph Harmon who had drawn it to his attention. Nandlall noted that the Head of State had added: “Former Presidents should be treated with dignity”, and had declared his recognition that governments change.Speaking on the weekly televised programme The Public Interest, which was aired on Friday evening, the Head of State further pointed out that while he would not interfere with the work of the Guyana Police Force, he believes that Jagdeo’s “personal arrest” was unjustified.“We are speaking about an ex-President. We’re speaking about somebody who (had) enjoyed the confidence of the (Guyanese) people for 12 years, and I believe that his involvement in the matter under investigation did not warrant his going to the office. A decision could have been taken at the level of the Guyana Police Force…So, in my view, some other way could have been used to determine whether his presence at the headquarters was necessary,” Granger stated.Jagdeo and former Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon, were arrested on Tuesday last, while several other former Government Ministers under the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration were detained by SOCU officials who are probing misappropriation of State assets. The arrest and detention was in connection with an ongoing probe into the acquisition of lands at Pradoville 2, among other things.Expressing the view that certain Government ministers may be directing the activities of SOCU officers, the Leader of the Opposition revealed that the President had promised to “personally inquire into the incident.”However, asked about this development during his televised programme, the Guyanese Leader explained that while he regrets the way the former President had been treated, he would not be interfering with the work of SOCU. Moreover, Granger pointed out that the Guyana Police Force has the right to invite people of any rank to go to SOCU headquarters during an investigation, and he added that it is not possible for SOCU to visit every single former Minister; but he maintained that an exception could have been made in the case of Jagdeo.“I think they acted properly, generally speaking, with regards to the other ministers; but I do feel that at the level of (the former) Head of State, the matter could have been handled differently…The Police must be allowed to do their job, and if their duties require them to invite persons who are accused of certain offences or who have information to provide, I think they should be allowed to do that without interference. I did not interfere, and I will not interfere with the investigations; but it’s impossible for SOCU to go around the country trying to have private interviews because of the perceived rank of the persons,” President Granger asserted.SOCU has, over the last few days, detained several former prominent Government officials, including former Prime Minister and President, Samuel Hinds. Former Ministers Priya Manickchand, Irfaan Ali, Clement Rohee, Robert Persaud and Dr Jennifer Westford are also among others who have been detained in connection with their role in the Pradoville 2 scheme. The reason these persons are being questioned is because they purchased property at the Sparendaam seawall area (ECD) that is commonly known as “Pradoville 2”. The current Administration contends that the transaction is a criminal act because of the belief that the land was sold below market value. However, the PPP had argued that subsidised housing has always been a part of the legacy of the People’s Progressive Party, and that countless Guyanese have benefited from lands sold below market value.In fact, Nandlall has been recently quoted as saying: “Every single house lot in this country was distributed way below the market price: $50,000 for a land in Mon Repos, $200,000 in Eccles… Is that the value of the house lot? So let us not get carried away and become victims of the propaganda.”The President’s apologetic sentiments come on the heels of a question posed by Acting Commissioner of Police David Ramnarine in regard to whether the former Government ministers and former President Bharrat Jagdeo are about the law. He is quoted in sections of the media as saying, “Are they above the law? Why can’t they be questioned if SOCU is carrying out an investigation?” Ramnarine had thereafter excused himself to attend a meeting.
The National Transportation Safety Board later determined that the air traffic controller was too busy to see the radar blip of the small plane as it blundered into commercial airspace. Moreover, Kramer’s plane lacked a transponder that would have alerted the control tower that it was at 6,500 feet, the same altitude as the Aeromexico jet making its final descent into LAX.“The planes just went straight into each other,” witness Cindy Gillespiecq testified during a 1989 trial to determine liability for the crash. “No one seemed to swerve or anything.”Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabecq, then mayor of Cerritos, recalled seeing thick plumes of black smoke wafting into the sky as he left church services that day. He presumed the new post office was on fire.He walked into his house to the sound of the phone ringing, a sheriff’s deputy calling to say he was on his way to pick up the mayor. Two planes had crashed into a middle-class neighborhood less than a quarter-mile from Knabe’s home, and his help was needed.At the same time, Knabe’s wife turned on the television and started screaming.“In Cerritos, we had plenty of money, 26 parks,” Knabe recalled recently. “Things like this aren’t supposed to happen.”Authorities established command centers as firefighters extinguished fires on Holmes Avenue, Ashworth Place and Reva Circle. Aided by residents, coroners’ officials began the grim task of recovering bodies from the smashed homes and twisted fuselage.“Bodies were everywhere,” Richard Santanacq said at the time. “There’s debris everywhere, pieces of people everywhere. There was nothing I could do but help cover up the bodies.”John O’Neillcq ran out of his Reva Circle home after he heard an explosion.“It was absolute total destruction,” he said then. “There are pieces of the engine all over. My backyard is a mess. My house is covered with pieces of you name it.”For Knabe and other city officials, the days, weeks and months following the accident were spent orchestrating cleanups, reaching out to victims, resolving to rebuild.Mental health officials went door to door, searching for people still cowering inside their homes in fear or in survivor’s guilt, Knabe recalled.The city loosened construction codes to facilitate rebuilding. The incident highlighted the necessity of disaster preparedness and mutual-aid agreements, Knabe said.In the aftermath, 70 lawsuits were filed over the accident. They were consolidated into a single federal suit that led to a $56.5 million payout to plaintiffs in 1989.A jury absolved Aeromexico of wrongdoing, finding the FAA and Kramer equally to blame for the tragedy.Two years later, the FAA began requiring equipment called Mode C transponders on small planes near busy airports. The equipment broadcasts a plane’s position and altitude, giving controllers data instead of just blips.The FAA also required commercial aircraft to be equipped with traffic alert and collision avoidance systems. And it consolidated radar centers and reconfigured LAX flight paths to keep small planes away from jetliners.The Cerritos neighborhood eschewed a memorial near the crash site, but the city’s sculpture garden now features a monument – a marble-and-granite piece symbolizing the 64 people who died aboard the jet, the three on the small plane and 15 on the ground.The abstract, free-form shapes evoke wings, flying, weightlessness and release, the city’s Web site stated.But while much of that neighborhood has changed, the people who lived through the day when fire and shrapnel rained from the sky haven’t forgotten.“It’ll never be normal – never,” Cerritos resident Randy Economycq said days after the crash. “The emotional scars are there too badly. When I take a walk here at night, that’s all I think about: the horror of seeing bodies flying, the screaming, and myself, helpless to do anything.”[email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre A single-engine plane piloted by a Rancho Palos Verdes man had clipped the tail of an Aeromexico jet about to land at Los Angeles International Airport. In a recent interview, Tom Doty recalled how he and his family watched in shock as the jet turned belly-up, then streaked past the left wing of their Piper Comanche in its nose dive to Earth.Seconds later, an inferno erupted as the DC-9 jetliner crashed into homes where residents had been enjoying a lazy Labor Day weekend. The badly damaged Piper Cherokee fell onto the vacant playground at Cerritos Elementary School, where classes were set to start just a few days later.The disaster destroyed nearly a dozen homes and killed 82 people – including 15 on the ground, the most ground fatalities of any U.S. aviation disaster.It also prompted the Federal Aviation Administration to impose stricter safety requirements for both commercial and private aircraft to avoid a recurrence of the tragedy.With his wife and daughter aboard, 52-year-old William Kramercq was flying the four-seater Piper Cherokee from Torrance to Big Bear when he cross paths with the Aeromexico jet piloted by Arturo Valdez-Promcq. Johnny Dotycq leaned forward from the back of the four-seater plane soaring 5,500 feet over the sprawling suburbs of Los Angeles.“Dad, is that airplane going to crash?” he asked.“Yes,” Tom Doty, then a Redondo Beach police lieutenant, calmly answered from the pilot’s seat. “They don’t fly so good without tails.”It was just before noon on Aug. 31, 1986, and the Doty family – 11-year-old Johnny and his parents, Tom and Janet – had just witnessed what would become one of the nation’s worst aviation disasters.
Playa del Carmen, Q.R. — Ten tourists were injured when a tire blew on the passenger van they were in heading to Holbox.The accident occurred around 10:30 p.m. along the El Tintal-Playa del Carmen highway at kilometer 41 of the 44-kilometer-long road. A passenger van carrying a load of visitors bound for Holbox ended up in the brush after one of its tires burst.The moment the tire gave way, reports say the driver of the unit lost control. The van left the highway and skilled for nearly 20 meters before finally coming to a stop in the brush.Passing motorists stopped to help those inside the van while others called Emergency 911.Police, medical personnel and ambulances arrived. All 10 passengers received injuries and were transported to hospital. Only one person was reported to have multiple injuries. There were no fatalities in the accident.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)