Officers will be held accountable – President

Lindo Creek CoI Report

Even as Government continues to review the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) report into the Lindo Creek Massacre, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Brigadier David Granger, on Wednesday said that those officers who are implicated in the Lindo Creek Massacre will face the consequences of their actions.
“The report’s recommendations will be acted upon in due course. The days of concealing security sector mistakes and misdeeds are over. The Force’s officers will be held accountable for the consequences of their actions, and for the instructions they issue to their subordinates,” the President said in his remarks at the swearing-in of the new Police Service Commission.
Moreover, the CoI report, which according to the President is being reviewed in detail, contains a lot of evidence.
“That report raised troubling questions about the role of the Defence and Police Forces during the ‘troubles’, and the reticence of the political administration of the day to provide useful evidence to the Commission of Inquiry into the massacre,” he asserted.
President Granger further stated that the ‘troubles’ was a dark period in the country’s history. He added there is need to build public trust in the Police Force, and noted that security reform is now more urgent in light of the CoI report.
“The inability of the Police to arrest the outbreak of criminal violence quickly led to the emergence of so-called ‘phantom’ death squads. The ‘troubles” revealed also how drug lords had infiltrated the Force. The ‘troubles’ exposed the influence of a small but influential group of rogue officers. It revealed the need for more careful selection of officers, and improved intelligence-gathering,” the President added.
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.
Almost 10 years after the Lindo Creek massacre, President Granger established a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) and selected Retired Justice Donald Trotman to probe the killings. The inquiry commenced back in February, and after several months, the report was compiled and handed over to the President last week.
The lone Commissioner had said the main objective of the CoI was to find the truth, and to bring healing and closure to the nation as a whole. He had expressed hope that the Lindo Creek and other inquiries would help bring about reconciliation among Guyanese.
On the other hand, President Granger had 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.
Meanwhile, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) had expressed skepticism about participating in, and supporting the work of, the Commission.
The Party believes that, given the manner in which the CoI was constituted and the commentary from senior Government officials, it was designed to achieve a political outcome and continue the Government’s programme of witch-hunting Opposition personalities.
The PPP/C had even said that the Government-sponsored inquiries into the ‘troubled’ period should have started from the period 1998, when the real wave of ethno-political violence commenced, which would assist in addressing the root cause of the violence.