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WPA stresses need for national unity govt, non-interference in Guyana’s affairs on Rodney’s 40th death anniversary

Last Updated on Saturday, 13 June 2020, 9:50 by Denis Chabrol

Dr. Walter Rodney

The Working People’s Alliance on Saturday- the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Walter Rodney- is renewing its call for a government of national unity and no interference in Guyana’s domestic affairs by other countries.

The WPA says it is recomitting its quest for a Guyana that is based on ethnic-racial, social and gender equity. In that regard, that party, which is part of the David Granger-led coalition, called for  a multi-racial political system to  manage Guyana.

“WPA recommits itself to the first step towards ethnic jointness in the form of a Government of National Unity and Reconstruction that recognizes the right of all groups to be represented in the halls of national decision making,” the party said in a statement to mark the death anniversary of Rodney.

Rodney was assassinated on June 13, 1980 while he had been seated in his Mazda Capella car, PBB 2349.  on John Street near the Georgetown Prison. A bomb-in-walkie-talkie supplied to him by now late Guyana Defence Force (GDF) electronics expert, Sgt. Gregory Smith, had exploded on his lower region.

Such a government, that party says, recognizes the right of all groups to be represented in national decision making.

The WPA  also called on sister Caribbean and international partners to cease meddling in Guyana’s internal affairs. “While WPA recognizes the vulnerability of the sovereignty of countries like Guyana, it nevertheless throws its support behind calls for  our regional and global partners to resist the temptation to become too entangled in the country’s domestic challenges, the WPA said.

That call came amid concerns by the APNU+AFC that St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves called for the Guyana Elections Commission to use the recount results to declare the final results of the March 2, 2020 general elections amounted to interference. The United States, Britain, Canada and the European Union (EU) as well as the Organisation of American States (OAS) have separately and collectively called for the recount results to be used to declare the final result and install a democratically elected government.

The WPA urges people not to  cheaply “pimp” Rodney’ name to score partisan political points. The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and the President David Granger have separately cited Rodney’s name in addressing the political situation in Guyana.

WPA  said it was recommitting itself to the struggle for freedom of association “There can be no freedom for the working poor in Guyana except in a community where every woman and every man  and every youth is free to choose a party without fear of reprisals from any state or from powerful groups in the society.”

WPA  urged that in the face of imminent oil wealth, it would redouble its efforts to fight for just rewards for the working poor of all ethnicities. “In this regard, the struggle for the policy of Cash Transfers to households remain at the top of our agenda,” the party said.

At a Commission of Inquiry that had been aborted by the Granger-led administration had heard testimonies ranging from Rodney acquiring communication equipment for long-range communication with political comrades to the WPA acquiring arms, ammunition and explosives to remove the then People’s National Congress (PNC) Forbes Burnham dictatorship by “any means necessary” at the height of a civil rebellion. The WPA maintains that its party had been infiltrated by PNC loyalists and Rodney had been handed the explosive device to ostensibly test near the metal fence of the Georgetown Prison.

Smith was eventually whisked out of Georgetown to Berbice and later left with his family for French Guiana where he had lived and worked under the name of Cyril Johnson until his death from cancer more than 10 years ago. He had also acquired  a Guyana passport in the name of Johnson.

Initially, the GDF had  denied ever having enlisted a Sgt Johnson until the privately-owned Catholic Standard had published his picture in military uniform.