No bias should be drawn from tribute at Walter Rodney memorial service

-Inquiry chairman

Several weeks after political activist and historian Dr. Walter Rodney was killed, Sir Richard Cheltenham QC delivered a glowing tribute to him during a memorial service in Barbados.

Sir Richard, who is now the chairman of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) set up to investigate the circumstances surrounding Dr. Rodney’s death, told Stabroek News last evening that no bias should be drawn from this as the two did not share a close relationship.

When told of the article, dated June 30, 1980 and which was published in the Barbados Advocate, he said that it was brought to his attention on Monday. He said that he did not have any immediate recall of it but eventually did.

Sir Richard Cheltenham
Sir Richard Cheltenham

He said that he could have gone “wholly oblivious of that had it not been for someone bringing it to my attention.” He said that he hopes that no none will draw any inference of bias.

According to Sir Richard, it is a historical fact that he had spoken at the memorial service. “I don’t think that it should be an issue,” he said before adding that the article states nothing about any close relationship between himself and Dr. Rodney.

He said that they did “overlap” one year at the Mona Campus, in Jamaica. “We were students in different halls…..we were not close. We were not roommates. That is a fact,” he said adding that the tribute that he did was based on published records and the fact that he knew him and his reputation. “I don’t know what reasonable inference can be drawn from that…. For me it should not be an issue and no inference of bias should be drawn from it,” Sir Richard said again, stressing that his contributions at the memorial service were based on public records.

“It is a naked fact. No inference of bias should be drawn…given the length of time,” he added.

Rodney was killed on June 13, 1980 when a walkie talkie given to him by now deceased Guyana Defence Force officer Gregory Smith exploded. At the time, he was seated in a car near the Georgetown Prison.

In the article, headlined “Cheltenham pays tribute,” Sir Richard was reported as saying that Dr. Rodney was a Caribbean man and a Third World Man who believed that the Third World and Caribbean countries because of their colonial past had similar problems which called for a related if not similar strategy.

“In Rodney’s death, the Caribbean has lost one of the finest minds of his generation. God blessed him with a richness of intellect, a power of conceptualisation, a clarity of thought and an ease of expression which was the privilege of few. In this and other respects, he had abilities beyond the reaches of most men,” the article quoted him as saying.

He went on to speak of when he met Dr. Rodney during the 1962-63 academic year at the Mona Campus, adding that “every meeting convinced me that he would distinguish himself.”

In his tribute, Sir Richard continued to speak of the academic side of Dr. Rodney’s life and touched on the years before he died.

More in Local News

The newly commissioned $26.5 million Student Loan Agency, located at the University of Guyana Turkeyen’s campus

UG loan defaulters face travel ban

Government yesterday outlined proposed measures to ensure that University of Guyana (UG) students repay their loans, including barring those with outstanding debts from leaving the country.

default placeholder

Sexually-abused girls, ages 13 to 15, largest group in children’s homes

Over the last ten years, the number of children in institutional care in Guyana has increased by almost 50%, with girls between the ages of 13 and 15, many of whom have been victims of sexual abuse, representing the largest single age group.

default placeholder

ExxonMobil seeking more acreage for oil search

American oil firm ExxonMobil is seeking to acquire more acreage offshore Guyana and a top executive has reiterated that the plan for production is “probably early into the next decade at this point.” In a quarterly earnings call with analysts yesterday, ExxonMobil’s Vice President, Investor Relations and Secretary Jeffrey J.

default placeholder

Troy records second quarter drop in gold production

Australian mining company Troy Resources Limited has produced 34,740 ounces of gold for the year up to the end of June at its Karouni gold project here and adverse weather conditions and teething problems at its mill are being blamed for hindering operations in the last quarter.

default placeholder

GGMC workers to get six weeks’ pay bonus for 2015

While they anticipate as much as a 25% increase in salary for 2016, Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) workers yesterday welcomed an announcement by government of a one-off six weeks’ payout for last year.

Leroy Bennett

Teen repairman dies after fall from rice mill’s roof

A young repairman lost his life yesterday when he fell from the roof of the Ancient County Rice Mill, in Berbice.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: