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Circumstantial evidence points to Burnham’s role in Rodney’s assassination- Ogunseye

WPA Executive member, Tacuma Ogunseye testifying at the Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry

Working People’s Alliance (WPA) executive member, Tacuma Ogunseye on Wednesday said circumstantial evidence points to the involvement of then Prime Minister, Forbes Burnham and members of the security forces in the death of Guyanese politician, Dr. Walter Rodney 34 years ago.

“I still remain convinced that Burnham and members of Guyana’s security forces masterminded the assassination of Walter Rodney and Gregory Smith was an agent of choice who knowingly carried out this heinous request of his master,” said Ogunseye. Walter Rodney was killed on June 13, 1980 as a result of a bomb-in-walkie talkie explosion.

Rodney’s  brother, Donald,  has said in a statement to police that then Guyana Defence Force (GDF) electronics expert, Sergeant Gregory Smith, had provided him with the device to test along the metal fence of the Georgetown Prison, John Street.  Ogunseye urged the commission to explore the nexus between the appearance of leaflets outside Rodney’s house in the hours following the explosion that referred to an unidentified man being killed and someone had tried to blow up the prison. Ogunseye recalled Donald stating that Smith had instructed that Waltershould exit the car and walk close to the prison fence. Instead, Walter remained in the car and tested the device that blew up in his lap, said Ogunseye.

Ogunseye, delivering his evidence-in-chief at the Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry, also said that Rodney was in close contact with members of the security forces to build up a loyal section who would have refused orders to shoot during a popular uprising against the Burnham administration.  Ogunseye recalled that Rodney was in contact with an unnamed member of the military to secure assistance in building walkie-talkies on a frequency other than that used by the security forces. Ogunseye said he had provided Rodney with the remnants of a walkie talkie to be passed on to the expert.

Noting that Burnham had no legitimacy and would have done anything to remain in power,  Ogunseye also suggested that the Commission should consider how it was that a Guyana Defence Force (GDF) aircraft had transported Smith to Kwakwani and no  request was made to organizations like Interpol to apprehend “especially since it had political implications for it was in the best interest of Burnham to go to all ends of the world to clear his name.”

Ogunseye would be cross-examined on another date to be agreed on.

Former GDF pilot Captain Gerry Gouveia is expected to testify on Thursday.