Former President Donald Ramotar is furious that the new government has decided to wrap up the work of the Commission of Inquiry which is looking into the 1980 death of Guyanese historian and politician, Dr. Walter Rodney.
In a statement, Ramotar said history will show that it was the government under his watch that launched the inquiry but it was the APNU+AFC government that decided to end it.
“I wish to reiterate that the decision to establish this Commission of Inquiry was not inspired by any political motive but purely by my desire to shed light on one of the darkest and most controversial event in Guyana’s post independent history and political landscape and to assist the family and relatives of Dr. Walter Rodney to bring closure on what clearly was one of the most traumatic incidents in their lives.”
The Donald Ramotar administration had come under severe criticism for politicizing the work of the Commission and using statements made during the hearings for political mileage during the last elections.
Still, the former President is convinced that the work of the Commission should have been allowed to continue.
Mr. Ramotar said “I will be the first to admit that the Commission of Inquiry was an expensive undertaking but I maintain, a justifiable one. More importantly, all monies spent can be accounted for and were approved by the National Assembly except for a brief period when Parliament was prorogued and then dissolved.”
The previous government had spent over $325 Million on the Commission of Inquiry over the past year and it had several extensions. When the new government took over, it indicated that it could not afford the costs attached to the Commission and as such the work of the Commission ought to be wrapped up and a final report issued on the findings.
Former President Ramotar in his statement said he takes “strong umbrage to the decision of the APNU+AFC Government to truncate the life of the Commission.”
“I have no doubt that the Commissioners needed just a few weeks more to complete their tasks in a professional way. It simply makes no sense to bring the Commission to such an abrupt end to save a few dollars when hundreds of millions have been spent already and the Commission’s report will most likely be affected by the failure of the Commission to receive evidence from important witnesses who are yet to testify and from those who have testified already and who are to complete their testimony.”
The Commission has heard from several witnesses who have all given varying testimonies on Walter Rodney, his death and the situation in Guyana at the time.
Walter Rodney was a political activist and the Leader of the Working People’s Alliance. He died when there was an explosion in a car that he was sitting in while testing a radio device. It is believed that the radio device was a bomb, but there have always been different stories on whether he knew that it was a bomb.