By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Attorney – at – Law Christopher Ram, representing the interest of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) at the ongoing Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry (COI), believes that former Opposition Leader, Robert Corbin and Secretary of the Defence Board Dr. Roger Luncheon should be summoned before the Commission.
Ram, who made an oral submission to the Commission’s Chairman, Sir Richard Cheltenham at this morning’s (Wednesday, August 27) session recalled the testimony of senior Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Sydney James.
James had testified that several deadly army weapons were issued to a ‘R. Corbin’ between the period 1976 and 1979 of which several remain unreturned.
Ram also noted that the person – R. Corbin – who was said to be employed at the then Office of the Prime Minster and at the Ministry of National Development at the time, could possibly be the former Opposition Leader.
“I think it is fair for Mr Corbin to appear so that we can arrive at the truth… He has not volunteered and I think the Commission can summon him,” Ram said.
But his request was met with immediate rejection by Attorney – at – Law, Basil Williams, representing the interest of the People’s National Congress (PNC), from which Corbin hails and remains an active member.
Williams argued that James had stated that he does not know who R. Corbin is and there was no other evidence that implicates the former Opposition Leader. He said it was a false premise being advanced by Ram and urged him to first cross examine the witness before coming to such a conclusion; adding that he may be guilty of libel should he make such statements outside of the Commission.
Ram also asked for Secretary of the Defence Board, Dr. Roger Luncheon to appear before the Commission; explaining that his role over the years could be helpful in investigating the activities which dates back 34 years ago.
Sir Cheltenham did not rule on whether any of the gentlemen will be summoned. However, he pointed out that any person who feel they are adversely affected by testimonies coming out of the Commission could appear before the COI to clear their name.
He said the Commission will make a decision when the time comes as to whether it will summon Corbin or Luncheon.
James had testified that the sub machine army guns that were seized from criminals in a deadly shootout with police at Mahaica in 2009 were issued by the GDF to the People’s National Congress (PNC) Government in the 1970s, along with hundreds more. Many deadly weapons remain missing, never returned to Army stores.