The PPP yesterday called upon the leadership of the PNC and the WPA to fully cooperate with the Commission of Inquiry (COI) into the death of Dr Walter Rodney and to submit their written memoranda to the Commission by the deadline date of March 26.
This call by the PPP comes in the wake of reservations by both the PNC and the WPA – the party that Rodney led at the time he was killed in an explosion in 1980 – over the composition of the commission and its terms of reference.
Freedom House said that the “People of Guyana expect the full participation and cooperation of both PNC and WPA to finally bring closure to the family of the late Dr. Walter Rodney.”
The ruling party denounced the attempt by the opposition parties to discredit the COI and it members. The Commission is headed by Barbadian Queen’s Counsel, Sir Richard Cheltenham, and includes Guyanese-born Senior Counsel, Seenauth Jairam, who has been practising in Trinidad and Tobago since 1979 and and Jamaican Queen’s Counsel, Jacqueline Samuels- Brown, who is the Chairperson of the Council of Legal Education.
The PPP charged that the criticism by APNU -whose main component is the PNCR – of the Terms of Reference (TOR), and attacks on the credibility and impartiality of the Guyanese-born Jairam, are mere tactics being employed to discredit the work of the Commission.
“Despite his public statement to the effect that he is not afraid of the outcome of the COI, (PNC Leader) David Granger’s every utterance and action seem to be one of uneasiness and apprehension at the least. The PNC Leader and his Executive have every reason to be fearful of the revelations that would flow from the inquiry into Walter Rodney’s untimely death.”
The PPP noted that the Commission of Inquiries Act gives the President exclusive power to appoint an Inquiry on such terms constituted by those whom he deems fit in any matter of national concern.
The ruling party said that in establishing the Terms of Reference and the appointment of members to the COI, the President had taken into consideration a request made by Patricia Rodney, widow of the late Dr Rodney, “not to involve the WPA or the PNC by way of consultations. It is our understanding that Mrs. Rodney did not want the process to be politicized.”
Had Granger himself drafted the Terms of Reference, he would still be uncomfortable, the PPP said, as since Rodney’s death, the accusatory finger has always pointed in the direction of the political party he now leads, the PNC.
“The People’s Progressive Party hopes that the PNC use this occasion to exonerate and absolve its members, past and present, from any wrongdoing that resulted in the death of this world renowned Guyanese politician/historian on June 13, 1980”, Freedom House said.
The party also took a swipe at WPA leaders.
“Perhaps the outcome of this Commission of Inquiry will unlock yet another mystery, one that will provide some clue to justify the reason Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine, and other senior members of the WPA would agree to collaborate and ‘lay in bed’ with the same PNC that is widely believed to have caused the death of the WPA’s founding member/leader. This great betrayal must surely have Walter Rodney turning over in his grave everyday”, Freedom House said.