Lindo Creek COI: GDF transcripts are being deliberately withheld – Chair

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Former Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, Rear Admiral (ret’d) Gary Best, takes the stand before the CoI into the Lindo Creek Massacre

Chairman of the Lindo Creek Commission of Inquiry (CoI), retired Justice Donald Trotman, on Monday said that the Commission is forced to come to the conclusion that transcripts from the Guyana Defence Force’s (GDFs) investigation are being deliberately withheld from the Commission.

He noted that the conclusion comes after they would have made requests to the Guyana Police Force (GPF) for the statements but they are not forthcoming.

He made a request to former Chief of Staff Rear Admiral (ret’d) Gary Best to use his “good offices” to assist the Commission in obtaining the statements.

Best testified that the statements were handed over to the Police Force immediately after the report was handed over to him. He added that they have not retained any copies nor would he have seen the statements.

Commissioner, Lindo Creek CoI, retired Justice Donald Trotman

Commissioner Trotman, in response, said because of the gravity of the accusation one would have thought that the GDF kept copies. He further related that they are hoping that the feeling of deliberate attempt be dispelled, while requesting that Counsel for GDF and Best make some special effort to gain those transcripts.

Meanwhile, GDF Counsel Roysdale Forde said they would have written to Crime Chief Paul Williams, since last week, requesting the statements but have not received a response to date.

Forde suggested that the Commission call someone from the GPF to answer the question of location of the transcripts.

Sometime between June 12, 2008 and June 24, 2008, miners Cecil Arokium, Dax Arokium, Compton Speirs, Horace Drakes, Clifton Wong, Lancelot Lee, Bonny Harry and Nigel Torres were shot and killed, and their bodies burnt at the Upper Berbice River mining camp, which was being operated by Leonard Arokium.

The Lindo Creek CoI is the first of what Government has said would be a series of inquiries into the hundreds of killings, which occurred during a crime wave that began in 2002.

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