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Letter: Is the Rodney commission of inquiry a serious judicial proceeding, a sham or a Spanish inquisition?
Published on June 2, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

Dear Sir:

The current commission of inquiry (COI) into the death of Guyanese academic and politician, Dr Walter Rodney, which occurred more than 34 years ago, bears no semblance to a serious judicial inquiry. I have listened to testimony via podcast as well as read press accounts of both testimony and exchanges between the Commissioners, the attorneys and witnesses.

This COI should not be taken seriously. It is a disgraceful sham and fishing expedition. It is more befitting the title of “Spanish Inquisition” rather than a serious inquiry that is committed to “fact finding” on a basis of internationally acceptable judicial standards, rules of evidence and admissible testimony.

I acknowledge that the law gives the COI powers to make its own rules. However such “made-up” rules cannot be outside of the scope of internationally acceptable judicial norms, as is flagrantly evident.

Thus far, I have not seen one shred of valid, legitimate, corroborative “evidence” (verifiable facts) presented to the commission that establishes how Dr Rodney died, who allegedly instigated, planned and executed this alleged plot or whether Dr Rodney’s death was an accident of his own making or deliberate act.

All we have heard to date are unsubstantiated, wild and sometimes downright foolish assertions and reckless accusations by so-called witnesses; some with rancid characters, while some others have the credibility of “Jack-the-Ripper.” How these opinions, assertions, accusations and suppositions became admissible evidence is beyond mind-boggling.

As much as I respect Mr Eusi Kwayana, his testimony so far constitutes such wild and baseless speculations and opinions that it has been nothing short of laughable. It is alien to reality.

Anyone can climb on a soapbox or witness-stand and make wild accusations that tend to be salacious but which unjustifiably besmirch and sully people’s reputations and characters. However, for this commission to allow these so-called witnesses to do so in an intended judicial proceeding where fact and proof are not inevitable prerequisites is reprehensible.

None of these characters have testified to being actual witnesses to Dr Rodney’s death, as only his brother Donald was. Further, none of them testified to being knowledgeable about the operation Dr Rodney was undertaking at the time.

It is a fact that the only eyewitness, Donald Rodney, said after the explosion that there had been “a terrible accident.” It is also a fact that he also attested in his uncoerced statement to the police that the WPA, of which Dr Walter Rodney and Mr Eusi Kwayana were co-leaders, were planning an armed revolution to overthrow the then Forbes Burnham PNC government. Will the COI follow those leads? Can Mr Kwayana testify to the validity of a confession in a 'sworn' statement that he probably was engaged in a conspiracy to commit treason?

All of this notwithstanding, after two months of testimony, the COI is yet to hear any factual evidence by legitimate witnesses or individuals with actual knowledge about the facts and circumstances of how Dr Rodney died.

This process is rotten to the core and stinks to the heavens. This COI is a complete waste of taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars. It is being used by the PPP government to stir up passions, incite racial fear and engender instability within political opposition coalition ahead of general elections.

If at its conclusion this is all this COI has to offer the Guyanese people, then the reputations of the commissioners must suffer. Their reputations must be made to sink with their report, as they would have allowed themselves to be used to fulfill a dirty political agenda by the racist PPP ethnocracy that calls itself a 'government' in Guyana.

Rickford Burke
Former Special Assistant
to Hugh Desmond Hoyte SC, late president of Guyana
Reads: 16618

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