Ex-army chief McLean blank on Rodney probe
…but denies turning blind eye
Although denying he “washed his hands” of the probe into Dr Walter Rodney’s death, former Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Major General (rtd) Norman McLean yesterday testified that he knew nothing of the investigation and said that he was even unaware of reports that an army plane transported main suspect Gregory Smith into Kwakwani.
Taking the stand before members of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the death of Rodney, McLean said that even though he knew questions were being asked about Smith’s involvement, he personally did no investigation on the former soldier turned deserter.
He told an almost packed room at the Supreme Court Law Library that the first time he heard of a plane transporting Smith to Kwakwani one day after the murder was last week, when Captain Gerry Gouveia told him he was subpoenaed to testify about “the plane” at the CoI. Observers point out that such reports have been in existence since 1980.
Barbadian attorney Andrew Pilgrim, who is looking after the interest of Rodney’s widow, Patricia Rodney, and her family, asked McLean whether he would have asked Gouveia about “the plane.”
“No, sir. Having not told me for 34 years, I don’t want to know,” he said. He had earlier said that Gouveia was a product of the Guyana National Service (GNS), of which he was Director General before his appointment as Chief of Staff. He said if Gouveia had flown Smith to Kwakwani, he would have expected to be informed by him.