On the days in question last week, it seems that President David Granger and Attorney General Basil Williams did their utmost to avoid receiving the Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry (CoI) report, and made yet another attempt to impugn the Commissioners. It is not the kind of conduct Guyana expects from its leading statesmen and not what these statesmen were elected to do.
The trite delay of lack of ink caused the President’s disappointment “in the Commissioners’ inability to arrange their work” and the Attorney General’s incongruous call for “a definitive end to this entire Commission of Inquiry”. Neither statesmen sought reports from the CoI secretariat head or, if so, there was no disclosure in this regard. If ink was the cause of the delay it would be stunningly strange that the Commissioners would ever be responsible for consumables like coffee, milk, paper or ink. The absence of consultation and/or disclosure of an administrative report is of the greatest importance; it allows evaluation of the true nature of the conduct referred to above.
The explanation is that the President and the Attorney General were reacting directly as the leadership of the inner PNC, which has refused to convene or participate in an independent, international inquiry into Walter Rodney’s death for more than a generation, but fortuitously are now the successors ‘in situ’ to receive a duly completed report of just such an inquiry. Over this time the PNC, when dominant over state institutions, instead of an independent inquiry, hid vital forensic investigation reports mounted prosecution and persecution against me. And orchestrated a flawed inquest. One can appreciate the conundrum now posed.
However at this stage of the new, promised political dispensation, whatever the partisan party imperatives of Messrs Granger and Williams, Guyana expects that as President and Attorney General such imperatives be placed after considerations of Guyana as a whole. Such an assurance must be given by said officials by words and by conduct, and quickly; for if the party becomes more important than the state, both are doomed.
The President by press release graciously listed the grants of presidential extensions of life to the Commission. Not listed was the instance where a grant was refused – for the Commission receiving further and fuller evidence before closing. Apart from being a relative, Dr Walter Rodney is a distinguished scholar and acknowledged revolutionary and a product of our very own environment. Guyanese as a whole want to know, and need to learn from, the full circumstances of his violent death.