By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The ongoing Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry (COI), wrapped up its third session of hearings today (Wednesday, July 2), pending the completion of cross examination of Working People’s Alliance (WPA) Member Tacuma Ogunseye.
At the end of today’s session, the Commission’s Chairman, Sir Richard Cheltenham announced that the next round of hearings will commence on July 28 and will conclude on August 8, breaking on August 1 to accommodate the annual Emancipation celebrations.
Cheltenham also announced that the Commission will sit for another week in August, between the 25 and 29.
The Inquiry which was commissioned on February 8 and began hearings in April was recently extended to September 30 by President Donald Ramotar.
But even with this date fast approaching, iNews was reliably informed that the Commission is yet to hear from a lineup of approximately 30 more persons, including Government Ministers and prominent businessmen and women among others.
Some of these persons will testify voluntarily while others have been compelled to do so. Additionally, there are approximately ten witnesses who have given evidence in chief but are set to return to give further evidence and/or be cross examined.
WPA’s Ogunseye was cross examined today by several Lawyers, including Barbadian Keith Scott, who is representing Donald Rodney; Trinidadian Andrew Pilgrim who is representing Rodney’s wife and children and Basil Williams who is representing the interest of the People’s National Congress (PNC).
The Commission heard among other things that under the rule of Former President LFS Burnham, the Court system was suggestively unfair.
Ogunseye said, in his estimation, on political matters 75 percent of rulings were unfair while a mere 25 percent were fair, recalling that while some stood up to the oppressive nature of the then PNC regime, many did not have the “backbone” to fight and therefore ruled in government’s favour.
He was making special reference to his own experience and that of Rodney’s brother, Donald Rodney who was charged and later convicted for the possession of explosives without legal authority.
He opined that Burnham was very personal in his oppressive tactics as a Leader and did not want too many political prisoners. Ogunseye, who is convinced that the former President was responsible for the death of Dr. Rodney, said Burnham cracked under [political] threat from the WPA and lost his nerves, hence resorting to allegedly ordering Rodney’s death.
Ogunseye will complete his cross examination when hearings recommence on July 28.