… stop talking, start acting — PPP/C urges President
President David Granger has promised to officially release the findings of the Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry (CoI) as soon as Cabinet members complete their perusal of the Report.
President David Granger
Speaking with Journalists at the Ministry of the Presidency on Wednesday morning, the Head of State said the Government document was laid before Cabinet on Tuesday and was currently being perused.
He noted that the Central Executive Committee of the People’s National Congress would also have to look at the document and later make a pronouncement on the findings. All of this will be done before the document is laid in the National Assembly.
“Cabinet has not yet made a decision, but in due course, it will. It will be released so that the public could judge for itself. It is a Government document; an announcement will be made as soon as Cabinet gets an opportunity to peruse it. The PNC is a part of the APNU [but] will make its own decision when it wishes to do so,” President Granger told Journalists.
The three-member CoI which probed the events leading to the death of Dr Rodney back in 1980 has suggested that the PNC and its leadership at the time were aware of the circumstances surrounding his death.
President Granger, however, again discredited the tribunal’s work, which he said could have been done more effectively.
“I iterate that one of the important elements of the evidence that was supported was that some conspiracy took place. Four persons were supposed to be present at that conspiracy: two of them are dead and two are alive. If it was so important, emphasis would have been placed over that two-year period to have the evidence of that person (Cecil Skip Roberts), but it was really bizarre that he was brought into the country and not allowed to testify,” he said.
“I think we need to bring closure to the matter. I think persons who have chosen to speak have spoken and I respect their views and all the political parties will make their opinions public and I expect that once that is done, it will be laid in the National Assembly,” he said.
He related that unlike popular belief, his party, the People’s National Congress, had always been in support of anything that would determine what caused the death of the Working People’s Alliance leader.
“I just want to make it clear that the party that I lead, the PNC, supported an international inquiry into the death of Dr Rodney. Even in 2014, we supported it, but we made representation about the Terms of Reference which we thought were prejudicial. We believe that there are still elements of truth that were not explored.”
So far, the PNC has chosen to remain tight-lipped on the details of the findings of the Inquiry.
The party, which held the reins of power during the period Dr Rodney met his demise, has been accused of causing his death, a move it was hoped would silence his mounting criticisms of the dictatorial leadership of the day.
PNC General Secretary Oscar Clarke, when contacted on Tuesday, refused to comment on the findings of the probe.
“I don’t make comments on newspaper reports, when the General Secretary of the People’s National Congress gets a copy of the Report, I will make a comment,” he had said before ending the call.
Clarke’s refusal to comment has come although the party’s leader, President Granger has already pronounced on the findings. The President, however, did not speak on behalf of the party, but the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) Government. Critics say that the comments by the Head of State could not represent Government, since it was not the APNU/AFC coalition that was accused of Rodney’s death, but the PNC.
Meanwhile, People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Chief Whip Gail Teixeira on Tuesday said it was time for the PNC boss to stop talking and start acting. She said while he has already pronounced on the findings of the Inquiry, he was still to officially release those findings.
Teixeira also lamented the fact that the immediate family of the slain historian, particularly his wife, Dr Patricia Rodney, has not yet been furnished with a copy of the Report.