thursday, may 1, 2014 | guyanatimesGY.com
Police launch probe into missing Rodney files C rime Chief Leslie James said the Police have launched an investigation into the disappearance of seven files relating to the killing of Dr Walter Rodney back in June 1980. Appearing before the Commission of Inquiry into Rodney’s death on Monday, James had disclosed that seven files containing evidence relating to the killing have gone missing and he was unable to locate them. He told the Commission that upon checking, he could not locate files one to seven. Senior Counsel Seenath Jairam questioned whether the WPA files numbered 8-10 were ever disclosed to anybody, organisation or public authority charged with investigating the death of Dr Rodney, such as the International Commission of Jurists and or the Coroner. James said that he was unaware. James told the Commission that since being appointed Crime Chief
on April 8, he was entrusted with the responsibility of perusing “all pertinent files relating to the Walter Rodney inquiry”. These include files from the Special Branch, the intelligence gathering arm of the Guyana Police Force; files from the former Head of the Criminal Investigations Department; and files produced by the Working People’s Alliance (WPA). According to James, the files were all gathered in 1980, the year Rodney was killed. Meanwhile, Senior Counsel and Commissioner in the Walter Rodney CoI Seenath Jairam raised concerns about the level of Police work carried out by officers regarding investigation and the laying of charges on the accused Gregory Smith after Rodney’s death. Contacted on Wednesday on the issue, James again said he never perused the files, and as such, could not say what information they contained. He added that in such a sensitive case, the
files are kept in a secure department; thus, he cannot comment on their disappearance. However, he disclosed that an investigation has been launched into the matter.
The embarrassing disappearance of files is a feature in the Guyana Police Force and observers have questioned why the Government has not invested in Information Technology for the Force, which would see it not relying on paper files, which corrupt cops have routinely destroyed or hide. James said the Guyana Police Force is going through its strategic management modernisation programme and is in contact with two international organisations to upgrade several departments. During this period, he posited that various departments will be outfitted with the necessary Information Technology apparatus that will see a more effective re-
Crime Chief Leslie James
cord keeping system than the one that is used presently. Dr Rodney died in a car in the vicinity of the Georgetown Prison on June 13, 1980, after a walkie-talkie he was holding, which had been given to him by Smith, exploded. His brother Donald, who was sitting in the driver’s seat, escaped serious inju-
ry. In a subsequent statement, Donald Rodney said that Smith, at that time an acting Sergeant in the Guyana Defence Force, had given his brother the walkie-talkie, and had instructed him to test it near the perimeter of the Georgetown Prison so he could observe whether the extensive metal wall would interfere with the transmission.
According to reports on the fateful day, Donald had revealed that a brown paper bag was given to him by Smith to take to Dr Rodney and he was instructed that Dr Rodney should come out of the car and walk alongside the Camp Street Prison fence to test it. However, Dr Rodney did not do as was instructed and the bomb eventually exploded in his lap. Gregory Smith disappeared from Guyana soon after Rodney’s death, reappearing in French Guiana. In 1987, he told reporters in an interview that Rodney’s death had been the result of an accident. He said then that he had joined the Army as a Private in 1975, and was sent to England by the GDF to study electronics. After building an important Surveillance Unit for the Army, he said, he had been promoted to acting Sergeant. A charge of murder was laid against Smith when the PPP/C Government was in office on the anniversary of Rodney’s death in 1996.
PPP says it remains champion of working class
he People’s Progressive Party (PPP) is calling on all Guyanese to use the occasion of Labour Day to reflect on how far they have advanced in Guyana in terms of working class unity and economic and social gains. As a party that originated out of the bowels of the working class struggles, the PPP said it has always embraced a working class orientation. “It would be recalled that one of the first actions taken by the PPP Government after it won power in the elections of 1953 was to enact the Labour Relations Bill which ultimately led to the suspension of the Constitution by the British Government and the eviction from office of the PPP Government after a mere 133 days in office. It took the return of the PPP to power after 28 years of PNC dictatorial rule before the Bill was finally passed and enacted.” The PPP said too that it has always championed the cause of the working people, both in and out of office. In this regard, it said it is concerned over the failure of the Labour Movement to get its act together and called on the Guyana Trade Union’s Congress to stop engaging in all manner of dilatory tactics and work earnestly with the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) to heal the rift in the labour movement. “It is clear that the TUC, instead of genuinely representing the cause of the Guyanese workers, are more interested in promoting an Opposition agenda which is doing harm to the interests of its constituent members and the working class movement as a whole. The PPP takes this opportunity to call on all workers not to allow themselves to be fooled by those who profess to have their in-
terests at heart, but who are doing everything in their power to undermine the economic well-being and unity of the workers.” Commitments The party said its commitment to the working people of Guyana can be seen in the numerous pieces of legislation passed. Some of these include The Termination of Employee Severance Pay Act, The Trade Union Recognition Act, The Occupational Safety and Health Act, The AntiDiscrimination Act, along with the constant update of the Labour Act and the Holidays with Pay Act. “Our ratification of ILO [International Labour Organisation]Convention on Domestic Workers put us ahead of all the countries in the Caribbean and the recent introduction of a National Minimum Wage, along with a 40-hour work week, gave nearly 32,000 workers who are non-unionised massive increases ranging between 60 per cent to 80 per cent increases. We also adapted to ILO Decent Work Country Programme.” Moreover, the party said its record of granting annual increases to workers, thus improving real wages, has supassed the expectations of the critics and has not been matched by the undemocratic forces which misruled Guyana for the period 1964 to 1992. “The PPP takes this opportunity to commend the PPP/C administration for the several measures it has taken over the years to protect the working and living conditions of workers, especially at a time when the working class in other parts of the capitalist world are reeling under the impact of a severe economic and social crisis.”
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