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WPA members to participate in Rodney Commission

The late Dr. Walter Rodney

The Working Peoples Alliance (WPA), seemingly divided over whether it should participate in the Commission of Inquiry into the bomb-blast death of its co-founder Dr Walter Rodney, has opted to allow party members to do as they see fit.

“After a careful assessment of the issues involved for and against participation in the work of the Commission, bearing in mind the family’s genuine pursuit of closure on this grievous matter, conscious of its responsibility to Walter Rodney, his family, the nation, the Region and the international community, WPA recommends that each individual party member be free to engage the process of the inquiry as he or she sees fit, taking into consideration that the Party itself has not been officially acknowledged as a participant by the powers that be,” the party said in a statement.

The WPA and the opposition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) of which it is a member share similar concerns about the presence of Trinidad and Tobago Senior Counsel, Seenath Jairam on the commission because he had worked for the goverment on the budget cut case. APNU, whose largest member is the Peoples National Congress Reform (PNCR), is also objecting to the broad time frame before and after June 13,1980 when Rodney was killed to determine the role of the security forces.

WPA Executive Member and APNU’s Vice Chairman, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine has in recent times sought to downplay who really was responsible for Rodney’s death. Prior to the WPA and PNCR working together, Rodney’s party had consistently accused the then PNC-led administration of being responsible for his death and had often cited then Guyana Defence Force (GDF) electronics expert, Sergeant Gregory Smith as the person who had carried out the hatchet job for the Forbes Burnham regime.

The WPA on Sunday also said it had no choice but to accept government’s claim that the Rodney family wanted no political party to be involved in organising the inquiry.  Against the background of President Donald Ramotar ignoring the WPA’s concerns about aspects of the Commission in a March 7,2014 letter, that party recalled that it was the Rodney family that had agreed to the importance of national healing. “Ignoring WPA’s expressed concerns on so vital a matter is unworthy of the President and does not contribute to the development of a healthy political climate in Guyana. 

It certainly is not conducive to the national reconciliation and political healing which had been the last position of the Rodney family and the WPA, as enunciated in a joint statement in 2005 on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary observations of Walter’s assassination,” said the WPA.

The WPA noted that is not one of the organisations which the Commissioners saw fit to meet on their recent support building exercise, even though it has historically been for over three decades the leading voice calling for an inquiry into the assassination of Walter Rodney.