…urges Govt to accept CoI report
The Working People’s Alliance (WPA) is again calling for the State to exonerate Donald Rodney from all charges brought against him in relation to the death of his
brother and founder of the party, Dr Walter Rodney.
This call was repeated at a press conference held on Wednesday, when Executive Member of the WPA, Dr David Hinds stated that the Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry (CoI) was discussed at a party meeting held on Sunday last, when members called on the executive to address that issue.
Hinds also reminded that the party had passed this resolution before, on June 13, 2017.
Donald Rodney was convicted for being in possession of an explosive device, which killed D. Rodney and served an 18-month sentence. He was reported to have been the person to witness the explosion which killed his brother.
“We are requesting that those charges be withdrawn and the party has mandated us to pursue that matter,” Hinds told media operatives.
Meanwhile, when asked whether the Walter Rodney CoI was discussed at the recent A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) meeting that was called following concerns raised by the WPA, a major party in the coalition, WPA Executive Member Tacuma Ogunseye said: “It wasn’t formally raised, but the President (David Granger) in conceding the need to address the various grievances raised by the WPA – when he mandated the person to deal with it, he made it very clear that all the issues and those related to Rodney were up for resolution.”
A CoI had been set up on February 8, 2014 to determine who was responsible for the death of the world-renowned historian by examining the circumstances which led to the bomb blast.
With the submission of a report by the Commission, which did not point to any one person or entity, the WPA called on President Granger “to take the necessary steps to end this chapter of our history”.
Nevertheless, the WPA had urged the President to accept the Walter Rodney CoI report.
The party, a member of the seven-faction APNU, was partly founded by Rodney, a historian and educator, who met his demise some 36 years ago in the bomb blast. The WPA, since Dr Rodney’s death, had been calling for an investigation into the death of its leader.
Throughout the 17-month long CoI, whose Commissioners included Jamaican Queen’s Counsel Jacqueline Samuels-Brown and Trinidad-based Guyanese Senior Counsel Seenath Jairam, the People’s National Congress had been pointed at as the major player behind Rodney’s death.
The Report stated that given all the relevant facts, events and circumstances set out, Commissioners could do nothing else but establish that William Gregory Smith was not acting alone but had the active and full support, participation and encouragement of, and/or was aided and abetted by the Guyana Police Force (GPF); the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) – both agencies of the State – and the political directorate, including Prime Minister Forbes Burnham, in the killing of Dr Rodney.
Rodney, a globally respected political and social activist, died on June 13, 1980, after a walkie-talkie he was examining exploded in his lap.
It was the theory of those close to the founding WPA leader that the man he had somewhat come to trust, Smith, a then GDF Sergeant and communications expert, had planted an explosive in the device Rodney was expected to test. It was claimed too that the Government of the day, the PNC and its leader, Burnham, had used Smith to carry out the attack.