Oct 31, 2017 kaieteur news
Vincent Teekah, a defector from the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) to the People’s National Congress PNC) was killed on October 24, 1979.
The PNC government claimed that Teekah was assassinated. Burnham threatened to” repay this foul deed.”
Burnham was extremely fond of Teekah. He would never have allowed the death of Teekah to go unpunished unless it was an inside job, in which case exposing it would have risked embarrassing his government.
The theory gaining the greatest traction was that the killing of Teekah was an inside job within the government. The PPP believed as much but never pressed this issue, since it was not on friendly terms with the Teekah who defected along with Ranji Chandisingh in 1976.
The PNC tried to deflect blame for the killing onto the PPP. During the Rodney Commission of Inquiry, evidence was led to show that former Commissioner of Police, the late Laurie Lewis, one of the PNC pitbulls within the police apparatus, had handwritten a note purporting to come from the PPP and addressed to the widow of Teekah, threatening her life. This was an attempt to frame the PPP.
The WPA, then opposed to the PNC, privately held the view that Teekah was not killed where it was said that he was killed. The WPA, which at time was infiltrating the military, was of the view that Teekah was killed at Camp Ayanganna by a PNC strongman and his body planted at the site where it is alleged he was shot.
Teekah’s body was found in his car near to Meadow Bank. He was said to be in the company of Dr. Oswaldene Walker, a female Jamaican- born, US-based dentist who had come to Guyana to do dental implants on Forbes Burnham. Burnham was a sick man by then and had developed a serious problem with his gums. He required dental implants which was not at that time the safe and common dental procedure that it is today.
Hamilton Green, in an interview with this newspaper a few weeks ago, speculated that Teekah’s death may have been a robbery. But this was not what his party was contending in 1979. It was unknown for persons to be shot and killed when being robbed in those days. And of course, if there were robbers with guns, they would have gone after a more affluent target. The view of a robbery is half-baked.
There is circumstantial reason to believe that Teekah was killed by someone within the government. The person who it is alleged was with Teekah at the time he was shot, the female dentist, was ushered quickly out of the country. She has never, in the ensuing years, commented on what happened on that night when Teekah was killed. She must have been scared of something or someone. To her dying day, she never said what happened.
The ‘disappearing act’ of the dentist resembles very much the flying out of Guyana of Gregory Smith, the GDF soldier who was implicated in the assassination of Walter Rodney. Dr. Walker’s immediate departure from Guyana and her subsequent silence about Teekah’s death adds fuel to the theory that Teekah’s death was an inside job within the government.
Teekah certainly had his detractors. His meteoric rise within the government would have made him enemies within the PNC. Within, one year of his defection from the PPP, Burnham made him the Minister of Education, Social Development and Culture, in a major Cabinet reshuffle. Teekah replaced Cecilene Baird who was well-liked within the PNC. Another female minister had been tipped for the job, but Teekah got the nod.
Burnham always had a trick up his sleeve. From as early as 1977, Burnham was planning to be President for life. Declassified documents now reveal that within months of his appointment as a Minister, Burnham asked Teekah to draft a new constitution.
Teekah produced a draft which proposed a one-party state. Burnham was astute enough to know that the Guyanese people would never accept a one-party state. He scrapped Teekah’s draft. He later set up a team of other Ministers to produce a draft constitution.
Burnham continued to be fond of Teekah who was a brilliant man. After only being a minister for one year, Teekah was on 8th August 1977, promoted along with Rashleigh Jackson, Joseph Tyndall, Vibert Mingo and Cammie Ramsaroop, to a senior Minister.
Teekah’s rapid rise could well have been the reason for his quick descent. He was murdered. It could well have been because of envy over the affection he enjoyed from Burnham.