WPA urges President to accept Rodney CoI findings

The Working People’s Alliance (WPA) is urging that President David Granger accept the Walter Rodney

WPA Leader, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine
WPA Leader, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine

Commission of Inquiry (CoI) report as is it and change his position that the findings are flawed.
The party, a member of the seven faction A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), was partly founded by Rodney, a historian and educator, who met his demise some 36 years ago in a bomb blast. The WPA, since Dr Rodney’s death, had been calling for an investigation in to the death of its leader.
In its first official statement, since the presentation of final report of the Inquiry, the party said President Granger, who had the benefit of possession of the report, has already registered the “Presidential disaffirmation” of the report; a posture he had taken before even consulting with his coalition partners.
“It remains to be seen whether on further consideration he will modify his severely critical position or even it remains immutable, he may help to create an environment accommodating differences so that we can rescue something positive out of it”.
Following a leaked circulation of the document, President Granger, when questioned by Guyana Times on the findings, expressed disappointment with the report saying that it was highly flawed. He said the three-member panel, headed by Barbados Queen’s Counsel, Sir Richard Cheltenham, had relied too much on hearsay evidence, particularly from a convict, and had failed to garner the relevant evidence from persons who were really there at the time of the incident. He said Government was going to challenge the findings of the investigation.
Throughout the 17-month long CoI, which was also heard by 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 communication expert, had planted an explosive into 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.
President Granger is yet to make an official declaration of the findings.
“The public should be wary of political opportunism that will flow unrestricted in the reaction to this report and the agenda of spin doctors. The Inquiry could not gather all the facts and could not include all the first-hand experiences of those of us who lived through the period under review”, the party said in its statement.
Meanwhile, President Granger, asked about the formal release of the report said that he had no problem in doing so, but was awaiting the official statements from, members of the coalition.
He said all members were sent copies of the document and were scheduled to submit their comments Friday. He said the coalition members were given copies of the report and were asked to discuss it with their executives and to submit their comments.