Police files on Walter Rodney disappears

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By Kurt Campbell

Crime Chief, Leslie James testifies during the Rodney COUI. [iNews' Photo]
Crime Chief, Leslie James testifies during the Rodney COUI. [iNews’ Photo]
[www.inewsguyana.com] – At least seven files from the police Special Branch that covered developments which attracted police attention on and leading up to the death of the late Founder/Leader of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) and Caribbean political activist Dr. Walter Rodney is believed to have been lost.

Recently appointed Head of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and Former Head of the Police Special Branch, Senior Superintendent Leslie James, submitted three documents from the Special Branch on Rodney labeled ‘WPA eight, nine and ten’ respectively to the Commission of Inquiry (COI) set up to investigate the circumstances surrounding Rodney’s death on Monday, April 28.

James, during the testimony told the Commission that he could not find the other seven files, explaining that they had to have existed since the numbering was done in sequence.

In addition to the three files, three others from the CID along with an arrest warrant that was issued in 1996 for Gregory Smith in relation to Rodney’s unnatural death was tendered into evidence.

Chairman of the Commission, Sir Richard Cheltenham attempted to inquire from the Crime Chief where at least seven other files could be. James answered that they may very well be lost. He told the Commission that all Special Branch files are stored internally and it was highly improbable that the files could be in the National Archives.

He added that files that were deemed not to be of importance would be destroyed. In this regard, the Chairman asked whether he thought Rodney’s files have lost importance, to which he responded positively.

The Commission has asked the Crime Chief to make further checks for the files which is believed to be valuable since it covered the period leading up to his death. The Chairman stressed that the files should be found or at least a good reason should be provided for its disappearance. All police files submitted were for the year of Rodney’s death – 1980.

Meanwhile, pointing to the 1996 arrest warrant for former Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Sergeant Gregory Smith, Commissioner Seerath Jairam said there seems to be a paralysis in investigating the incident by the police.

He seemed concerned as to what took the police almost 16 years to issue an arrested warrant for the man believed to have killed Rodney. In a similar manner, the Crime Chief who joined the Force in 1987 could not provide answers.

He is slated to return to the Commission at a later date once the documents he provided are perused by the commission.

Public Hearings will continue on April 29 where Edward Rodney is expected to testify and will continue on April 30, and on May 2.

Dr. Walter Rodney, a Guyanese political activist and intellectual died on June 13, 1980 when his car exploded. He had written several books prior to his untimely death.

The COI among other things will inquire who or what was responsible for the explosion that led to Rodney’s death, whether it was an accident or an act of terrorism and the role of some persons and agencies, if any, in his death.

 

 

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