I read in the Thursday, July 27, issue of the Guyana Times a report of the press conference hosted by the Working People’s Alliance (WPA). In it, Dr David Hinds called on the Government to withdraw against Donald Rodney the charges which were made in 1980. Donald Rodney was charged in relation to the death of Walter Rodney.
When the Commission of Inquiry was set up in 2014, this matter was raised with me. I was ready to withdraw any charge. However, on the advice of my then Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, I was told that I could not do so.
Mr Donald Rodney was not only charged, he was tried in his absence and convicted. Indeed, he was sentenced to a prison term. All this was done in his absence.
It meant, therefore, that Mr Donald Rodney could have been arrested by the police once he arrived in Guyana.
The other option open to me at the time was to pardon Mr Rodney. That I did. That allowed Donald Rodney to come to Guyana and to give evidence to the CoI.
Actually, there are no charges now against Donald Rodney that could be withdrawn. I am therefore surprised that the WPA, and its most vociferous commentator Dr Hinds, did not call for the report to be made public. True, the report has been laid in the House after the PPP/C Opposition made a tremendous push to get that to happen.
However, the process has been stalled at this point.
The public is unaware of where to go to get a copy of the report. Neither the Parliament nor the Government has made it available online. Nor is it readily available at the Parliamentary Office.
As far as I am aware, it was not sent to the libraries. The University of Guyana and the University of the West Indies do not have this report, I am told.
I, as President, established the CoI, but was never given a copy of the report, even out of courtesy.
The present leaders of the WPA only pay lip service to Walter Rodney. In practice, they treat him as dead and gone. He has become more of an inconvenience to them at this time.
I say this because, from all their actions in Government, it is clear that the PNC/APNU has not changed. We see them using their appointed speakers to stifle debate and discussions in the National Assembly.
The present leaders of the WPA are happy with the open racial and political discrimination that is being practised by the regime of which they are a part.
The destruction of the sugar industry – even though the CoI, which cost more than M did not recommend closure – is taking place mainly on racial and political grounds.
Instead of condemnation, we often hear some of them spewing what can only be described as racial sentiments.
After he resigned as a Minister of the PNC Government, Martin Carter wrote: ‘the mouth is muzzled by the food it eats…’
Our boys and girls in the WPA now prefer to stay quiet because they are also enjoying heavy perks – big cushy jobs being paid princely salaries. Their children are enjoying scholarships overseas and many other such benefits.
They have taken a stand on the side of the growing dictatorship, against the masses of working people of Guyana.
Walter Rodney, therefore, has become a huge inconvenience to them.
Calling for the Government to drop non-existing charges against Donald Rodney is just another smokescreen to hide the new anti-people positions that they have adopted.
It is not the PNC/APNU that has changed, rather, it is the WPA that has lost its way.