Last Updated on Friday, 27 March 2015, 21:09 by GxMediaA former Guyana Defence Force (GDF) electronics expert, implicated directly in the bomb-blast death of Working People’s Alliance (WPA) co-leader Dr Walter Rodney 34 years ago, was given a passport in another name in 1999 under the directive of a previous Police Commissioner.
Shortly after Rodney was killed in the explosion on June 13, 1980, Sergeant Gregory Smith left Guyana for French Guiana where he worked and lived under the name of Cyril Johnson until his death in 2002 from stomach cancer.
Testifying before a Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Rodney’s death, Immigration Officer Woman Police Sergeant Alexis Adams of her department’s Records Section produced documents showing that as late as 1999 by then Police Commissioner and Chief Immigration Officer, Laurie Lewis. At the time of Rodney’s death, Lewis was a top intelligence agent under the then People’s National Congress (PNC) administration that the WPA politician had been leading a civil rebellion against.
Under examination by Commission Lawyer, Glenn Hanoman, the Immigration Officer said a passport was issued in 1999 to Cyril Milton Johnson on the basis of an unsigned application with no guarantor. She said the application was authorized by “COP” (Commissioner of Police) and so the requirements would have been overlooked. Adams said it was likely that the passport would have been sent to the Police Commissioner.
Prior to 1999, William Smith was issued with a passport at the formal request of then Acting Commander GDF Captain, Godwin McPherson so that he could have travelled to the United Kingdom (UK) to participate in a training course in February 1976. That application was signed by Smith and the guarantor was McPherson who stated on 15th January, 1976 that he had known the applicant for five years.
Previous evidence led so far by several other witnesses point to the apparent State complicity in the killing of Rodney in his brother’s car, a Mazda Capella PBB 2349, on John Street, a short distance from the Georgetown Prison.
The GDF has so far been unable to produce records showing when Smith left the army and under what circumstances as well as flight records of an army aircraft that would have shuttled Smith, a woman and children from Ogle Airport to Kwakwani. Former GDF Pilot, Gerry Gouveia believed that it was he who had flown those persons to the Upper Berbice community. Key police intelligence records for that period have also not been found.
Immigration records show that Smith had reentered Guyana on June 19, 1982 and left one month later, both through the Cheddi Jagan International Airport.