Rodney COI: ‘My first thought was that he had finally been killed by the government’ – Karen De Souza

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By Kurt Campbell

Coordinator of the women's group, Red Thread and affiliate of the political movement - Working People’s Alliance (WPA) -Karen De Souza. [iNews' Photo]
Coordinator of the women’s group, Red Thread and affiliate of the political movement – Working People’s Alliance (WPA) -Karen De Souza. [iNews’ Photo]
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Coordinator of the women’s group, Red Thread and affiliate of the political movement – Working People’s Alliance (WPA) -Karen De Souza said upon learning of Dr. Walter Rodney’s 1980 unnatural demise, her first thought was that he had finally been killed by the then government, the People’s National Congress (PNC).

De Souza, who took the witness stand on Tuesday, April 29 in the ongoing Commission of Inquiry into Rodney’s death recalled seeing a seemingly boneless bent over body sitting in the car which she later identified to be Rodney’s.

She claimed that there were threats preceding Rodney’s death by then Prime Minister Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham where he cautioned members of the WPA, which was opposing to his Party’s policies, to make their wills.

“He made threats that the worst possible alternative, as they referred to the WPA in those days, should make their wills and that the PNC’s steel was sharper than any steel of the WPA,” De Souza said.

She recalled that Rodney’s death also followed the shooting to death of two other party members, adding that in a sense she was expecting that such a fate could have reached Rodney who was the Founder Leader of the WPA or any other member.

De Souza seemed convinced then, with little change in perspective now that the PNC may have been responsible for Rodney’s death.

The women activist, who testified at a Coroner’s Inquest 1988, recalled the hostile relationship between the then government and the WPA. She spoke of how the police and members of the House of Israel, which is said to have been controlled by partners of the PNC, would disrupt WPA meetings, bully its membership and engage in other violent acts against anyone who opposed the government.

She told the Commission that she was at home on Croal Street on the night of Friday June 13, 1980 when she heard an explosion. She said shortly after, there was a banging on the door and upon answering the door realized it was Rodney’s brother, Donald Rodney who was in the car with Rodney.

She said the injured Rodney was bleeding but insisted that she go and check on Rodney. De Souza explained that she then left and went over to John Street where she managed to get close to the car and saw Rodney.

She said she recognized him from his profile adding that there was no mangling or distortion to the face.

She spoke of paramountcy of the PNC while pointing to what has popularly come to be known as the declaration of Sophia.

De Souza will return at a later date to be crossed examined by Chairman of the PNC and Attorney – at – Law, Basil Williams.

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