Queens, New York State “District Leader Albert BALDEO, a former Magistrate, Prosecutor and Police Legal Advisor in Guyana, who holds the distinction of being the first Special Prosecutor appointed in Guyana’s history, way back in 1985, made the following comments when asked about the legal process in Guyana, as pertains to Special Trials. He emphasized that juries can be manipulated, especially by political considerations, but a competent, unbiased Magistrate, may be a more judicially objective option.
Mr Baldeo was the 1st Special Prosecutor appointed: 1985 Massive Government Frauds in Special Fraud Court, which was prevalent during Burnham era at the various corporations, including Gold Board, Guyana Police Force, Ministry of Finance, Guyana Defense Force, etc. Then head of the judiciary, Chancellor Massiah, convened same.
Baldeo stated: “I had the then Ambassador, who carried out Guyana gold via diplomatic channels, Sir E.V. Luckhoo, testify that the Gold Board employees siphoned off ounces prior to each shipment, and misappropriated same. Clerk Fay Ashby stole millions from a Ministry, and Doodnauth Singh made the mistake of putting her to testify. I cross examined her until she cried on the stand, and virtually admitted to the grand larceny. Magistrate Ramraj Jagnandan, RIP, later Justice Jagnandan, convicted all 19 cases over 6 months. Vigilance Police Officers who confiscated seized flour from trawler captain Pritipaul Singh, had the best lawyers-Santos, McKay, Doodnauth. They were also found guilty. Magistrates understand the law better than juries, who can be “compromised” especially in Guyana. Of course, I got death threats as a Special Prosecutor, but that only inspired me more!”.