guyana chronicle June 16, 2017

Dr Walter Rodney

THE Working People’s Alliance (WPA) is calling for the state to exonerate Donald Rodney from all charges brought against him in relation to the death of his brother and founder of the party, Dr Walter Rodney.
The WPA, which is the second largest party in the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) coalition, passed this resolution on June 13, 2017 during a meeting at the National Library.
The meeting was organised in observance of the death anniversary of Dr Rodney who was killed in a bomb blast on June 13, 1980.
The resolution was communicated to President David Granger via a letter, for him to take immediate action both in the interest of the party and the country.
According to the WPA, those gathered at the meeting celebrated the life, activism and scholarship of Dr Rodney and his contribution to Guyana, the Caribbean, Africa, and the oppressed of the world.
The party said at that event, it was noted that the charges against, and conviction of Donald Rodney in the death of his brother still stand.
The younger Rodney was convicted for being in possession of an explosive, which killed Dr Rodney and served an 18-month sentence.
Donald Rodney was reported to have been the person to witness the explosion which killed his brother.
A Commission of Inquiry (CoI) had been set up on February 8, 2014 to determine who was responsible for the death of the world-renowned historian by examining the circumstances which lead to the bomb blast.
With the submission of a report by the commission, which did not point to any one person or entity, the WPA called on President Granger “to take the necessary steps to end this chapter of our history.”
To end this chapter, the coalition party asked the government to “withdraw all charges brought against Donald Rodney in June 1980 [assassination] and in so doing exonerate him from the heinous accusation of complicity in his brother’s death.”
In making this plea, the party said its members were cognisant of the fact that if the terms of reference governing the CoI had been more carefully crafted, matters such as this could have been more properly addressed under its mandate.
Dr Rodney was born into a working-class family in Guyana on March 23, 1942. He attended Queen’s College in what was then British Guiana, and became a champion debater and athlete.
He subsequently attended the University College of the West Indies (UCWI) in Jamaica, on a scholarship, graduating in 1963 with a first-class degree in history, thereby winning the Faculty of Arts prize.
He earned a PhD in African History in 1966 at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, England, at the age of 24.
Many described him as having shifted the socio-political culture in Guyana, which was highly polarised, through activism. He was killed in his car on June 13, 1980, after a walkie-talkie he had in his possession exploded.
Meanwhile, the WPA in another resolution called for the immediate release of innocent Haitians and their children who have been detained in Guyana.
Seven adults and their eight children, all of whom are Haitian citizens and who entered Guyana legally, are being held in detention by the police.
According to the party, those persons were not afforded the kind of welcome befitting citizens of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
Further, the WPA revealed that the police have separated the adults from their children, seized their passports and cellphones, and have taken their money without providing receipts for same.
“It is our belief that the actions of the police are in contravention of the CSME [CARICOM Single Market and Economy] treaty, a blatant violation of their human rights and dignity as equal Caribbean citizens,” the party told President Granger in the letter.