On 13 June 1980, Pan Africanists, African scholars, political activists and scholars of various disciplines were stunned by the news – Walter Rodney was dead at the age of 38. He died in Guyana, his home, as a result of a car bomb that also injured his brother, Donald. Recently returned from Zimbabwe in southern Africa where he had celebrated the independence of that nation from settler colonialism, Rodney had once again thrown himself into developing a Guyanese coalition of all who were historically disenfranchised in the South American nation – the poor, various ethnic groups and women.
Best known as the author of How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, a classic exposition of the deliberate impoverishment of African nations, Rodney was also a dedicated activist who worked tirelessly in the Caribbean, Tanzania and Guyana to ensure an equitable distribution of resources for all. He founded the Working People’s Alliance in Guyana and its growth as a credible opposition is believed to have led to his death.
While in 1993 the Guyanese government joined other governments and institutions worldwide in honoring Rodney by posthumously awarded him Guyana's highest honor, the Order of Excellence of Guyana and establishing the Walter Rodney Chair in History at the University of Guyana, his family and friends worldwide have never stopped seeking the truth regarding his assassination. Due to this pressure, the government has just announced the formation of the Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry. This body is to seek information from any and all sources to ascertain the truth of the matter.
WALTER RODNEY COMMISSION of INQUIRY
Notice of Public Hearings
The Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry comprising Sir Richard Cheltenham, K.A., Q.C, Ph.D, as Chairman, Mrs. Jaqueline Samuels-Brown, Q.C. and Mr. Seenath Jairam, S.C., will be convening Public Hearings as follows -
28th, 29th, 30th April, 2014 and 2nd May, 2014.
Supreme Court Library Building, Victoria Law Courts, Avenue of the Republic & Charlotte Street, Georgetown, Demerara
The purpose of the hearings will be for the Commission to receive testimony and evidence from interested parties to enable it to-
(i) examine the facts and circumstances immediately prior, at the time of, and subsequent to, the death of Dr. Walter Rodney in order to determine, as far as possible, who or what was responsible for the explosion resulting in the death of Dr. Walter Rodney;
(ii) inquire into the cause of the explosion in which Dr. Walter Rodney died, whether it was an act of terrorism, and if so, who were the perpetrators;
(iii) examine the role, if any, which the late Gregory Smith, Sergeant of the Guyana Defence Force, played in the death of Dr. Walter Rodney and if so, to inquire into who may have counselled, procured, aided and or abetted him to do so, including facilitating his departure from Guyana after Dr. Walter Rodney’s death;
(iv) examine and report on the actions and activities of the State, such as, the Guyana Police Force, the Guyana National Service, the Guyana People’s Militia and those who were in command and superintendence of these agencies, to determine whether they were tasked with the surveillance of and the carrying out of actions, and whether they did execute those tasks and carried out those actions against the Political Opposition, for the period 1st January, 1978 to 31st December, 1980;
(v) examine, review and report on earlier investigations and inquiries done on and into the death of Dr. Walter Rodney;
Subsequent Hearings –
The Commission will be accepting original and follow up statements from interested parties during the life of the Commission and will be setting subsequent hearing dates to facilitate the commission and attendance of witnesses.
Witness Statements –
All persons wishing to testify on these and subsequent hearing dates are asked to submit statements of their intended testimony in writing to the Commission. Persons who wish to testify but may need assistance in composing their witness statements will be assisted by the Commission Secretariat and are invited to contact the Secretariat at the address, telephone number or email as set out below-
WALTER RODNEY COMMISSION of INQUIRY
Top Floor, Supreme Court Library Building, Victoria Law Courts
Avenue of the Republic & Charlotte Street
Tel: (592)227-7729; email firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information can be obtained from: http://www.walterrodneyfoundation.org