The Government and the Opposition clashed on Monday night over the Government’s motion to adopt and implement recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into the 1980 death of Dr. Walter Rodney.
The APNU+AFC Opposition described the Government’s move as opportunistic, and not one which honors the life of Dr. Rodney.
Opposition Member of Parliament, Ganesh Mahipaul said it appears that every time the PPP is at the crossroads, it resurrects Dr. Rodney, pointing to a motion in 2005, the Commission of Inquiry in 2014, and the new motion in 2021.
According to Mahipaul, the People’s National Congress has always been supportive of an international investigation into the death of Dr. Rodney. He questioned why the PPP never supported such a move but was more compelled to establish their own COI.
“The People’s National Congress was always and will always support a full, and impartial investigation surrounding the death of Dr. Walter Rodney. But this Commission of Inquiry that was had in 2014 and lasted until 2016 and cost the taxpayers somewhere around $550M, was far from impartial and I believe strongly that the PPP’s only intent with this COI to seek out cheap political mileage in their effort to name, blame and shame the PNC,” Mahipaul said.
Mahipaul also stated that the 2014 report which linked the PNC to Dr. Rodney’s death is premised on hearsay and gossip, adding that credible persons were not called to testify before the COI.
Also batting for her party, PNC Vice-Chair, Annette Ferguson in her presentation said the COI report into Dr. Rodney’s death lacked credibility.
“Mr. Speaker let me categorically state, that the PNC had nothing to do with Walter Rodney’s death. The late great Forbes Burnham who they demonize and crucified had nothing to do with Walter Rodney’s death and I know for a fact, just like my colleague said, the Rodney family may not get justice here on earth, but there is a God,” Ferguson said.
But Minister of Foreign Affairs Hugh Todd in supporting the motion reminded that Dr. Rodney rose to international stardom and had an impact in many countries. He said when Rodney returned to Guyana, it is his view that the PNC was afraid of Dr. Rodney and his political influence at the time.
“Since he proved that wherever he went he disrupted the oppression he witnessed. His appointment as a professor at the University was rescinded on the orders of the People’s National Congress,” Todd said.
Attorney General Anil Nandlall said what the government is attempting to do is honour the life of Dr. Rodney at the request of the late scholar’s family.
“The intent is not to do over a COI, the world knows who killed Dr. Walter Rodney, we don’t need anyone here at this hour in the night to recite how Rodney died. We know how Rodney died, we didn’t even need the Commissioner of Inquiry,” Nandlall said.
The mover of the motion, Governance Minister Gail Teixeira said the matter has been ongoing for more than 40 years and it is time that it comes to an end.
The Government used its majority to pass the motion.