The recent declaration by President David Granger that the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the death of Dr Walter Rodney did not give the “Guyana people what they deserve…” has been met with much criticism particularly from the Justice for Walter Rodney Committee.
In a statement today, the Committee lashed out at the President noting that his remarks not only attempt to rewrite the Commission’s Terms of Reference but completely overlooks the expert evidence by a witness whose credibility and evidence were not affected even after extensive cross-examination by the team of attorneys representing his Party.
“It is regrettable that the President has once again raised the issue of the cost of the Commission. Our Committee is on record as being sensitive to the instances of wastage surrounding the Inquiry, but we find it highly improper for the entire Inquiry to be measured in dollars and cents. We are moved to repeat the old saying – Justice is more precious than gold,” the release stated.
According to the Justice for Walter Rodney Committee, President Granger has faulted the Commission for letting in “much hearsay,” but in this regard he named only one witness whom he described as a “convict.”
As such, the Committee is hoping that the President in his next ‘broadside’ at the still hidden Report will say whether all hearsay is out of place or only if a convict is the witness.
“President Granger should also be reminded that it was no less a person than his current Attorney General, Mr. Basil Williams, who introduced to the Commission the most important piece of hearsay evidence: the book allegedly co-authored by army Sergeant Gregory Smith but published several years after his death. Under cross-examination, Smith’s sister and co-author was shattered when the book was exposed as a complete fabrication,” the Justice for Walter Rodney Committee contended.
In relation to the reference made by President Granger that former Crime Chief Cecil ‘Skip’ Roberts was not allowed to testify and former Army Head Norman McLean did not complete his testimony, the Committee also reminded that it was the President himself who, despite the strenuous pleas of lawyers and the parties represented at the Commission, brought the Commission of Inquiry to an abrupt end.
“The President cannot have it both ways: he cannot stop the Inquiry and later, when the findings are adverse to his interest, lament the absence of their testimony… Indeed, now that the President has publicly pronounced on the Report, it is incumbent on him to release it to the public. Years from now new generations may find it strange that a government had hindered persons in search of information vital to them and the health of the society,” the press statement added.
As a result of this, the Justice for Walter Rodney Committee has taken note of the fact that the President is commenting on a Report that is yet to be released to the public.
Therefore, it is repeating its call on the President to release the Report to Dr. Rodney’s family, the lawyers representing all parties at the Inquiry and to the media.