The lack of willingness on the part of witnesses to come forward is being blamed for the delay to commence the public hearing of the Commission of Inquiry into the Lindo Creek massacre.
The initial public hearing was postponed last Thursday when Commissioner, Justice (ret’d) Donald Trotman reported that there were some internal prerequisites and logistical issues that caused the postponement and did not announce a recommencement date.
However, a press release from the Commission related that the next date for public hearings would have been Monday, February 19. When reporters turned up at the Ministry of the Presidency’s Department of Citizenship in Waterloo Street, Georgetown, they were informed that all public hearings were “postponed until further notice.”
When asked why, the Commission’s Public Relations Department related that the initial reason remains valid.
The Lindo Creek CoI is the first of what the coalition Government has said would be a series of inquiries into the hundreds of killings which occurred during a crime wave that began in 2002.
The CoI, established two weeks ago, will inquire into the circumstances surrounding the killings of eight miners, and to report its findings and recommendations to President David Granger.
Sometime between June 12, 2008 and June 24, 2008, miners Cecil Arokium, Dax Arokium, Compton Speirs, Horace Drakes, Clifton Wong, Lancelot Lee, Bonny Harry and Nigel Torres were shot and killed, and their bodies burnt at the Upper Berbice River mining camp, which was being operated by Leonard Arokium.
The Lindo Creek massacre commission, which has been dubbed a “kangaroo commission”, is being headed by Justice Trotman, 80, who is the lone Commissioner selected for the job.
President Granger has described Lindo Creek as a “massacre of the innocent”, saying his Government believed the way the investigation was handled indicated that there was a high level of collusion. He had also rejected suggestions to extend the CoI’s focus to several years before 2008, when other major criminal activities had plagued the country.
The People’s Progressive Party/Civic has expressed skepticism about participating in this CoI and supporting the work of the Commission, as the Party believes that given the manner in which the CoI was dragged and constituted, and the commentary from senior Government officials, it is designed to achieve a political outcome and continue the Government’s programme of witch-hunting Opposition personalities.
The Party has also highlighted that the Commission was set up along partisan lines.