Mayor Hamilton Green’s letter published in the Kaieteur News on March 8, captioned ‘Hamilton Green gives his take on Rodney’s politics and death’ and in Stabroek News on March 10 titled ‘Rodney’s death was a terrible accident’ was not new. Most of what he wrote was a repeat of his ‘self-serving’ concoction that he espoused from the day of Walter Rodney’s assassination.
Mr Green was just being consistent in his deliberate misrepresentation of the facts surrounding Rodney’s elimination by the regime which considered him as the most pertinent challenge to its existence. However, unlike previous occasions, his fairy tale was demolished by the most damning, irrefutable evidence which was revealed in the CoI hearings. The evidence at the hearings was so compelling that it left the commissioners with no other option but to arrive at the conclusions represented in their report.
Frankly, I was not surprised by Mr Green’s remarks; after all, his close connections with the regime at that time and the lengths he went to in his attempts to discredit Rodney are well known and deeply etched in my memory. This so-called ‘honourable’ citizen has no sense of shame. In spite of his avowed spiritual renewal and his claim to be a born-again devotee, it is clear that he lacks objectivity and is a stranger to the truth when it comes to certain political matters. It will be interesting to hear how he will respond today to allegations of the many anti-worker postures he took at a critical juncture in this country’s history. There are examples I can allude to and I am at his disposal if he needs more comprehensive examples of his vicious treatment of citizens in this country.
I have great difficulty with public personalities who show contempt for the citizens of this country and think that they can always get away with falsehoods in public. Let me illustrate an example from Mr Green’s letter. He is contending that the CoI brought Cecil ‘Skip’ Roberts to Guyana and had him here for two weeks and failed to take evidence from him. The facts show a different story.
If truth be known, I attended every session of the commission’s hearings and I can testify that from the very first occasion and on every subsequent occasion that the Attorney for the PNCR, Mr Basil Williams raised this matter, the commission’s Chairman always gave an explanation of what took place.
As we reflect on this matter, it must be borne in mind that the hearings were broadcast live, nationally and internationally, and there are records of the CoI proceedings in the public domain. For the benefit of those who do not know the Chairman was always at pains to point out that Mr Roberts was brought to Guyana based on the assurance he gave to them that when he arrived in Guyana he would produce his statement. The Chairman had also on numerous occasions reminded counsel present of the commission’s rule that a witness must submit a written statement before he/she can take the stand and give evidence. It was said that Mr Roberts refused to comply with the commission’s request in spite of the several attempts made by the officials of the commission to get his cooperation.
After segments of the CoI report appeared in the press and the matter of Skip Robberts not being allowed to give evidence became part of the public polemics, Mr Glen Hanoman the commission’s senior lawyer who dealt with Mr Roberts wrote in the Guyana Chronicle, “I think he came because he got a free trip, because he had nothing material to say.” He continued, “No other witness was allowed to give evidence without first giving a statement.” Mr Green, I am sure, is well aware of these facts, but chose to ignore them. Some will contend that it is his right to reject the CoI Chairman and counsel Hanoman’s explanations. I will not quarrel with that way of thinking; however, public personalities should abide by higher standards in the course of public debate. At least they are expected to give recognition of known, well-established facts. To believe that because you may be a big one you can just ignore publicly known facts, and throw dust in people’s eye is contemptuous of the public and the people’s intelligence.
Both KN and SN carried responses to Mr Green’s letter on Rodney’s death: in KN, Shakuntala Lall’s letter was titled ‘Hamilton Green should explain why he did not testify’, and in SN on March 12, there was the letter captioned ‘The claim that Rodney’s death was an accident defies common sense’ by M Maxwell. Both were fitting responses to Mr Green’s nonsense.
Hamilton Green’s role in forcing the University of Guyana Council to rescind Rodney’s appointment to the History Department was one of the issues that shaped Rodney’s evolution in Guyanese politics. It is Mr Green who I believe poisoned Burnham’s mind against Rodney when he returned from Tanzania. I therefore wish to pose this question: Were it not for Mr Green’s stance would the history of Guyana not have been different as it relates to Rodney, Burnham, and WPA and PNC relations? Mr Green is carrying a huge burden.
Mr Green’s final paragraph said it all, and this is its inherent logic: Rodney was a violent person and was engaged in the politics of violence and thus “he was the architect of his own demise.” His unwitting inclusion of this paragraph condemns his party on Walter Rodney’s assassination on June 13, 1980.