The report of the Commission of Inquiry into the death of Guyanese historian, political activist and scholar, Dr. Walter Rodney, was officially laid in the National Assembly on Thursday and made available to the media and public.
The report concludes that Dr. Rodney’s assassination was state organised.
According to the findings, former President and then Leader of the ruling People’s National Congress (PNC), L.F.S Burnham knew of the plan to assassinate Dr. Walter Rodney.
There was widespread speculation that the then PNC government along with members of the security forces were behind the June 13, 1980 bomb blast that killed Dr. Rodney.
According to the report, it is clear that GDF Sergeant Gregory Smith gave Dr. Rodney the remote-controlled explosive in what appeared to be a walkie-talkie that exploded and killed him. The report also concludes that Gregory Smith was not acting alone but had the active and full support, participation and encouragement of the Guyana Police Force, the Guyana Defence Force, agencies of the State and the political directorate in the killing of Dr. Rodney.
According to some of the significant findings of the COI, “the police were unprofessional and extremely inefficient in turning a blind eye to the obvious.”
The Report also claimed that the police may have also deliberately botched the investigation in Dr. Rodney’s killing or was complicit with others, including the GDF in hiding or shielding GDF Officer Gregory Smith from facing the brunt of the law for having murdered Walter Rodney.
“It was a controlled society and Burnham had a large and detailed knowledge of whatever was being done by the state and its agencies,” the report added.
It also said there was evidence that then Head of the Special Branch and later Commissioner of Police Mr. Laurie Lewis along with Major General Norman McClean, Then Army Chief of Staff, played a significant role in the conspiracy to kill Dr. Walter Rodney and the subsequent attempts to hide circumstances surrounding his death. Then Deputy Police Commissioner Cecil ‘Skipp’ Roberts was also named in the conspiracy.
Soon after the report was presented to the House, a Motion by Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira to have the report sent immediately to a Parliamentary Special Select Committee for further examination was not allowed.
Her Motion was not allowed by the Speaker who explained that it was not in conformity with the Standing Orders.
The Walter Rodney CoI was set up in February 2014 by former President Donald Ramotar to inquire into what led to the death of Dr. Rodney and who was responsible for the bomb blast that killed him.
He was killed on June 13, 1980.
President David Granger has dismissed the report as being deeply flawed. He said previously that the Commissioners, headed by Sir Richard Cheltenham depended largely on hearsay evidence in their determination that the Burnham led PNC government was responsible for Rodney’s death.
The Commission started its work under the PPP Government and by the time that work ended last year, over $400 million was spent on the Commission.