The Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the Lindo Creek massacre was embarrassingly halted today even before it could get started as the Commission was uncertain of the appearance of scheduled witnesses.
One hour after the planned 9 o’ clock start time, Commissioner, Justice (Rtd) Donald Trotman, informed the media and others gathered at the Department of the Public Service for the hearing, that there would be no hearings until further notice as “certain prerequisite arrangements” had not been put in place.
While he explained that those “prerequisites” were mostly internal and that he wished not to announce them at that stage, he stated that one of the factors included witness appearances, relating that some of the witnesses were unable to attend, while others may have arrived late.
Trotman revealed that today’s hearing was meant to facilitate testimonies from the relatives of those who died in the massacre. Asked whether it was that persons were hesitant to testify, he responded in the negative, saying that it was more a matter of logistics, and working out transportation.
“Many of them live pretty far out and while we have been in telephonic communication with them, we have not had, in many cases, direct communication with them out of Georgetown…” he explained.
Trotman said that the CoI will be put on pause until those matters are worked out, but noted that he is hoping the hearings will be able to continue next week as scheduled.
“I’m sorry, I regret again, and I ask that you excuse me in particular, and the commission in general,” Trotman expressed.
The government had been queried on why it had started with the Lindo Creek probe as there is only one reputed witness of any interest while the other major criminal events of that period have many witnesses.
The Lindo Creek CoI is the first of what the APNU+AFC Government has said would be a series of inquiries into the hundreds of killings which occurred during a crime wave that began in 2002.
According to a notice sent out by the CoI’s Secretary/Legal Counsel Keshia Chase, hearings were also to be held from February 19 to 22 at the Waterloo Street-based Department of Public Service, commencing at 9 am and ending at 4 pm.
The CoI which was established two weeks ago will inquire into the circumstances surrounding the killings of Cecil Arokium, Dax Arokium, Horace Drakes, Bonny Harry, Lancelot Lee, Compton Speirs, Nigel Torres and Clifton Berry Wong on or about 21st day of June, 2008 and to report its findings and recommendations to President David Granger.