There should be one all-encompassing enquiry

Dear Editor,

The government has announced a Commission of Inquiry into the Lindo Creek massacre, with more to come.  I agree in part.  Former Prime Minister Samuel Hinds wrote impressively, and at length, while extending context back to 1997; and at the same time emphasizing “revelation, redemption, resolution, and reconciliation” as paths to be pursued. I agree in part again.  Now I go further.

So far, all those speaking and writing have limited and restrained the chronology of examination.  The scope and foci have to be more sweeping and in-depth; there has to be real drilling down.  I think that while Lindo Creek is a positive start, the order is reversed.  Already there is clamour, and quite rightly, about Lusignan; I expect to hear he same about Bartica and all the rest too.  It is the way it should be.  But with all of these possibly in the works, I still say that the thinking is too narrow.  I am suggesting that instead of all these individual exercises, there should be the mother (and grandmother) of all inquiries, through a single one that goes all the way back to the beginning of Guyanese political time.  Call it national inquiry, national commission, or whatever; but let here be one that takes the citizens of this country to where they have always avoided, and what has always eluded and fired the boilers of hatreds and distrusts (and all manner of speculation, too).  In this way, all local peoples are provided with the opportunity to look long and hard through the microscope at the nakedness of this country (and themselves) in all of its rawness and ugliness, and in toto.  Inquiries cannot and must not be piecemeal and whimsical, or calculated to deliver preconceived outcomes.  The one that I am recommending has to be comprehensive and full-blown, with no stone left unturned, regardless of the potential for damage.  Let truth be told, and for the first time.

Let the truth about the Son Chapman and Wismar come out.  Let the facts about Buxton and Annandale and McDoom be put on public display.  Let there be all that originated and ensued, whether before, since, in-between, or now so that every citizen with a mind and conscience could be furnished with the sordid history and legacy of this country.  It is the same legacy that debilitates and destroys a piece at a time and a day at a time.  Let there be sharp unflinching scrutiny about phantoms, national security assertions, freedom fighters, and counterforce, and let the chips fall wherever they must.  This has to be the way; there is none other.

If this is selective, then there is only wasting time and no progress.  If this is about hedging and obscuring and minimizing, then it is better to declare failure right now and disband proceedings.  If any of this is about what makes one political group or the other look diabolical, then do not do it, for there will be more harm than good, and lasting damage, too.  Because if the objective is to pin blame and guilt on one racial camp or the next, then that only further skewers and roasts the already parboiled peoples of this land.

A real start should be made from the beginning; it is 1957 (or thereabouts) and not 1997 or 2007.  Continue through to the day of the last political killing, which should be that of Crum-Ewing.  I apologize if I have that wrong, and there are later victims.  Any inquiry worth its salt (and its name) must be all-inclusive, and geared to probe powerfully and fearlessly to where all roads lead.  This is the way to truth and real reconciliation; to healing and reinvigorating.  Guyanese must stare at themselves in the mirror, shattered as it is and discern their disfigurements.  Anything less, anything shorter, anything convenient and skewed and shadowy is sure to be an absolute waste of resources, of energy, and of hope for this nation to crawl out of the cave below the swamp.  As this is the promised season of burgeoning inquiries, let there be one, just one, a real one.  Let the truth come to light, and perhaps some much needed sanity, too.

Yours faithfully,

GHK Lall

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