Opposition Leader, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo has confirmed that he has received a letter of invite to attend the private hearing of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the Lindo Creek massacre, but will not be participating.
“We are not going to participate in any closed door affair,” Jagdeo asserted on Thursday during his weekly briefing with local media corps.
He explained that according to the letter of invite he received from the Chairman of the Commission, Donald Trotman, it was stated that the PPP’s input would be considered “helpful” and “valuable.”
However, he slammed this, saying: “Granger didn’t want our input in crafting the terms of the reference of the CoI. He didn’t want our input in selecting the Commissioners. So he handpicked a Commissioner, who is the father of a minister and the head of a political party in the Coalition to be the Commissioner and they handpicked a lawyer, who is the brother of another minister in the Coalition Government to be the lawyer to the Commission- the two top officials; and they didn’t need our input at that stage.”
Nevertheless, the Opposition Leader maintained that if he was invited to attend a public hearing of the CoI, he would attend.
“If they invite me to a public hearing, summon me to a public hearing, I will attend but I will speak about the rumours I’ve heard, the same way that the Chairman allowed rumours and speculations and innuendos to dominate the entire hearing. I will add a few of my own that I’ve heard. So I hope he will allow me like he has allowed all the others to make this a charade- wasn’t evidence based,” he asserted.
Jagdeo maintained that his view is that the narrow inquiry is “unnecessary.”
“We should have looked at the entire affair from the escape of the bandits all the way to their apprehension or their deaths and everything that took place.”
The Lindo Creek CoI is the first of what the Coalition Government had said would be a series of inquiries into the killings, which occurred during a crime wave that began in 2002.
The CoI was established to inquire into the circumstances surrounding the killings of eight miners, and to report its findings and recommendations to President David Granger.
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.