Attorney Joseph Harmon yesterday announced that he would be looking after the legal interests of the Ex-GDF Association, which comprises former members of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), the Guyana’s People’s Militia (GPM) and the Guyana National Service (GNS), during the continuing Commission of Inquiry into the death of Dr Walter Rodney.
Harmon was previously on record as a member of the legal team watching the interests of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR),
In a brief statement moments after the third set of public hearings began yesterday, Harmon said he was withdrawing from the representation of the PNCR. He said he took this position on two grounds; the first being that he is convinced that representation given be the two other attorneys, Basil Williams and James Bond, was adequate; and that he has been approached by several of the former servicemen, including three former chiefs-of-staff, one director general of the GNS and a commander of the GPM, who “request that I represent their interest at this Commission of Inquiry.”
Harmon told the commission that these ex-servicemen are scattered across the world and with the use of technology have been able to follow the hearings. He added that it is difficult to comprehend the significant impact which the CoI has had on these former servicemen, particularly as it relates to the commission’s mandate to examine the activities of the three entities he has identified as well the commanders.
“These are persons who have distinguished themselves in the areas of politics, the arts, religion and the sciences, whose credibility and reputation now stand to be tarnished by negative issues which emanate from this commission concerning their command and service in the forces,” he said adding that had it not been for the work of some of these servicemen, Guyana would have been a different place.
Harmon, who served for 23 years in the GDF and attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel at the time of his retirement, stated that he understood and empathised with the former officers.
Lead Counsel for the commission Glen Hanoman later questioned whether Harmon is representing Major General (retired) Norman McLean and intends to call any witnesses. McLean, who was the head of the GDF when Rodney was killed in a bomb blast on June 13, 1980, has already testified but is due to reappear.
Harmon said McLean was already a witness for the commission but added that he would seek instructions from the persons he is now representing. He said that if it becomes necessary for members of the association to appear before the commission, they will put themselves in order.