The Lindo Creek Commission of Inquiry (CoI) on Thursday announced that former President Bharrat Jagdeo, former Prime Minister Samuel Hinds and the former Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee had refused two separate invitations to appear before the Commission.
It was the first official statement issued by the tribunal in relation to the matter, although it’s Commissioner, Retired Justice Donald Trotman, told reporters last week that the Commission was holding out on the possibility that those summoned for interviews would relent.
“The Commission of Inquiry into the Lindo Creek Killings wishes to advise the public that three former senior government functionaries have consistently refused the Commission’s invitation to contribute to the process of finding the truth behind the dastardly killings of the eight miners which are the subject of the Commission’s investigation,” a release from the CoI said.
The release noted that in May, Jagdeo, Hinds and Rohee, through their attorneys-at-law, Mohabir A. Nandlall & Associates, rejected an invitation to go before the Commission.
“It is with regret that I inform you that my client/s will not voluntarily attend any private hearing of the Commission. An invitation to attend a public hearing may have attracted a different response from my client/s,” a letter from the lawyers reportedly stated.
It was stated that a second invitation was sent last month, asking that they submit witness statements to the CoI and informing them that “consideration would be given to according them a public hearing should the Commission consider it necessary.”
It was stated that this invitation was declined as well.
The release said that the men were summoned because they held important positions during the time the killings were conducted, and were mentioned by several witnesses during their testimonies.
Last week, Justice Trotman, prior to a memorial service held for the eight murdered Lindo Creek miners, in response to questions about the status of the final report, stated: “In the period we have left before submission, even at this stage, we are making every effort to have some persons who have been unavailable, or who have been recalcitrant to come forward so that their contribution to the report and to the conclusion will be helpful in having the commission come to the knowledge of truth.”
Jagdeo, during his party’s weekly press conference, which was held the day following Trotman’s statement, called the inquiry “unnecessary” and stated that he would not be appearing at any private hearings, but rather, wanted the opportunity to speak publicly to add his own “speculations” and “rumours.”
The CoI is to inquire into the circumstances surrounding the killings of the men in June, 2008 and report its findings and recommendations to President David Granger.