Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday called for transparency during the Lindo Creek massacre Commission of Inquiry (CoI), while warning that in-camera hearings present an opportunity for false stories to be created.
“I don’t understand what they are doing,” Jagdeo said, before noting that the absence of information about the in-camera hearings is worrying.
“That is where they can concoct stories,” he added, while noting that the evidence of such witnesses could destroy the reputations of innocent persons.
“At least be a bit transparent so that we know it is not some concocted thing,” he stressed before expressing concern that the CoI chose to start the inquiry with in-camera hearings as oppose to public hearings.
Despite inquiries by Stabroek News, the CoI is yet to state how many persons have testified in-camera thus far. To date, no member of the PPP/C, including Jagdeo, has been contacted by the CoI.
The CoI, headed by retired Justice Donald Trotman, was established to 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.
Burnt human bones and skulls had been discovered on June 21st, 2008, by Leonard Arokium, owner of the Lindo Creek mining camp. DNA tests done in Jamaica several years later confirmed that the remains had belonged to the miners, inclusive of Arokium’s son and his brother. The men were mining for diamonds at the location when they met their gruesome deaths. After the miners were slaughtered, their bodies and belongings were burnt. Although a large find had been reported at the camp, there was no trace of any diamonds when the remains were found.
The public hearing commenced on March 1st. After an adjournment, more witnesses are expected to take the stand today.
The Lindo Creek CoI is the first of what the APNU+AFC government has said will be a series of inquiries into the hundreds of killings which occurred during a crime wave that began in 2002 under the former PPP/C government.