The Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the murders of eight miners at Lindo Creek in 2008 has recommended compensation for their families and a reckoning from former senior public officials, including former president Bharrat Jagdeo.
The CoI, which was led by Justice (ret’d) Donald Trotman, today submitted its report to President David Granger.
Speaking with reporters following the handing over, Justice Trotman noted that one of the main recommendations is that the families of Cecil Arokium, Dax Arokium, Horace Drakes, Bonny Harry, Lancelot Lee, Compton Speirs, Nigel Torres and Clifton Wong receive compensation from the state.
He justified this recommendation by stating that the families suffered financially due to the deaths of the men, who were husbands and fathers.
“They [the families] were dependent and now [that] they [the miners] have gone there is no support. Economic and financial support and we feel that compensation should be given…and have so recommended,” Trotman said.
Additionally, the CoI Chairman has recommended that some parts of the investigation be re-opened and while noting that no one has been found culpable, he has recommended that senior security officials during the time of the killings be called upon to explain their conduct during that period.
With the reopening of some parts of the investigation, Trotman explained, the commission is hoping that proper measures, which were not previously taken, will be taken to establish the truth of some of the allegations that were made.
“We have identified some persons who, in their official capacities performing their duties as public officers, should be enquired into so that some explanations be given by them as to their conduct and actions or their non-actions during the material times of 2008 and following,” he explained, adding that these persons include those who were performing the duties of President, Commissioner of Police, Minister of Home Affairs, army Chief of Staff and other relevant officers.
Trotman stressed that the president will have the prerogative of selecting what recommendations should be implemented and in due course he will make an announcement to that effect.
The CoI had previously invited Jagdeo, former Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee and former Prime Minister Sam Hinds to appear and give evidence but they all declined.
Jagdeo has specifically disparaged the inquiry as “unnecessary” and stated that he would not appear at any private hearings, but rather, wanted the opportunity to speak publicly to add his own “speculations” and “rumours” to those already submitted.
The CoI was established to inquire into the circumstances surrounding the killings of the men and report its findings and recommendations to President Granger. The eight men were mining for diamonds at the location when they met their gruesome deaths, sometime between June 9th and June 10th. After the miners were slaughtered, their bodies and belongings were burnt.
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 his son Dax, his brother Cedric and the other workers.