By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Even after a meeting with the Commissioners of the International Commission of Inquiry (COI) into the 1980 death of Guyanese politician and historian, Walter Rodney the Opposition Coalition – A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) – is still unsure of it participation in the public hearings which could commence as early as Tuesday, April 22.
Several members of the APNU including Joseph Harmon and Rupert Roopnarine met with the Commission’s Chairman Queen’s Counsel Sir Richard Cheltenham and two Commissioners, Senior Counsel Seenauth Jairam and Queen’s Counsel Jacqueline Samuels – Brown.
According to Harmon, the APNU which is made up of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) and the Peoples National Congress (PNC) formally addressed concerns that it had raised in the media in relation to several Terms of Reference (TOR), which the WPA had written to the President about.
Harmon said the fear that Commissioner Jairam may present a case of conflict of interest since he had worked with the government previously was also raised in his presence.
The Party was informed at the meeting, which sought to garner support for the COI that it should raise those concerns with the sponsor of the COI, which is the Government since there was little the Commission could do in that regard.
The Commission’s Chairman had earlier quelled the concerns in relation to Jairam’s presence on the commission, dismissing it as lacking ‘walking capacity’.
The Chairman has given the Commission’s commitment nonetheless to go to all lengths to ensure closure is brought to the relatives of Rodney.
Harmon said the APNU was asked to recognize and respect the experience and sound judgment of the Commissioners and as such have accepted those assurances in good faith.
The Opposition MP added that it was the administration that was responsible for the now apparent mistrust and distrust in the motive of the COI because of the manner in which it was established.
He said the Opposition was not privy to or consulted on the TOR and thought the administration would have shown better judgment having recently concluded the Linden COI.
There were meetings between the Commission and the Commissioner of Police, Army Chief, Political Parties, House Speaker, Private Sector Commission, Trade Unions among other stakeholders.