The Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry believes that the politician was assassinated as part of a state sponsored operation.
The founder of the Working People’s Alliance was killed back in 1980 when a bomb exploded as he sat in a car in Georgetown. Although there was always suspicion that the then PNC government had knowledge of the bomb that resulted in Rodney’s death, the party had always distanced himself and had claimed that Rodney was testing a walkie talkie bomb when he made a mistake that cost him his life.
“We find on the balance of probabilities that Walter Rodney had intended the walkie talkie to be a communications device which would have permitted him to be in relatively easy contact with fellow WPA activists and for no sinister purpose. The point must be made at this stage that telephones were not easily available and there was discrimination in the distribution which was controlled by a state agency and which, in all likelihood, would have been denied the WPA”, the report said.
The Rodney Commission which wrapped up its work late last year and handed over its report a week ago found based on testimonies and statements that “Dr Walter Rodney was a man of large and significant stature both in Guyana and beyond at the time of his death. He could only have been killed in what we find to be a State organised assassination with the knowledge of Prime Minister Burnham in the Guyana of that period. It was a controlled society and Burnham had a large and detailed knowledge of whatever was being done by the state and its agencies”.
A number of former top Police and Guyana Defence Force officials had appeared before the Commission distancing themselves from Rodney’s death. The man who was fingered in setting up the bomb that killed Rodney was a former GDF officer, Gregory Smith.
After Rodney’s death, Smith hurried out of Guyana and settled in French Guiana until the time of his death, decades after. The Commission believes that he was helped out of Guyana by the former PNC government.
The Rodney Commission which was headed by leading Barbadian Attorney, Sir Richard Cheltenham, complained in the report about the Commission being cut short by the current government.
When the coalition government took office, it offered a number of extensions to the Commission before it asked the Commission to wrap up its work as its bill reached over $300 million.
The Commission went on for over a year.