By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com]–Amid allegations of fact distortion and baseless conclusions, affiliates of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), Karen De Souza and Tacuma Ogunseye maintain that there was state involvement in the alleged assassination of former WPA Leader and Historian, Dr. Walter Rodney.
Ogunseye, who concluded his testimony before the ongoing Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry today (Monday, August 4), maintained that in his personal and political judgment, former President Linden F. S Burnham who led the then People’s National Congress (PNC) government had a role to play in Rodney’s death.
He said Burnham was very vindictive and was prepared to do anything, even exercise violence, to hold onto power; drawing the inference that at the time of his July 13, 1980 death, Rodney and by extension the WPA was the biggest political opposition to the government.
This conclusion by Ogunseye was met with rejection by PNC Counsel, Basil Williams who claimed that the contention was erroneous and that Ogunseye was not qualified to make such statements.
“You are guessing your way, making statements that you don’t have basis for… you are distorting history,” Williams told the WPA Executive.
But despite this objection, Ogunseye persevered, with permission from the Commissioners and later stated, under cross examination by WPA Counsel Christopher Ram, that Rodney’s death was as a result of Burnham’s resolve to hurt anyone who challenged him.
“I am human… spent over four decades in politics and I can make that judgment.”
Meanwhile, though pointing out that she was not before the Commission as a WPA witness, De Souza maintains that her conviction is that Rodney was killed by the then PNC government.
She recalled, having been one of the first persons to arrive on John and Hadfiled streets minutes after the explosion, that there was several police from the Death Squad who stood around and did nothing to help, expect trying to prevent the crowd that had gathered from getting close.
Shee recalled too, Rodney’s brother, Donald Rodney, who visited her home and told her to go check on Rodney because “there was a terrible accident.”
When asked by Williams to interpret what she thought “a terrible accident” to mean, De Souza said: “something that was unexpected.”
But that answer did not satisfy Williams as he tried to disassociate the then PNC government.
Willaims accused De Souza of trying to distort the role of the police in relation to what had happened as he sighted several inconsistencies in her statement, oral testimony and testimony she had given to a Coroner’s Inquest several years ago.
De Souza however denied the allegations which also claimed that she changed her testimony to match the theory of the WPA that Rodney’s death was engineered by the security forces.
She said the PNC was the only Party at the time that posed a physical threat to Rodney and the WPA executive.