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WPA prepared to wait on Rodney inquiry

- want to avoid politicisation of issue

The Working People's Alliance (WPA) says some progress is being made regarding the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry into the killing of its founder, Dr. Walter Rodney.

On the 26th anniversary of the slaying of one of the most vocal opponents of the Burnham regime, Dr. Rupert Roopnarine, who now heads the WPA, told a press conference that consultations have been held with local, regional and international persons and organisations, with a view to setting up such a Commission of Inquiry. Roopnarine said the party has been acting on the family's behalf regarding the Inquiry, and that they (the family) would not want to see the issue politicised; as such, it supports the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry well after the election season ends.

The family and party are prepared to wait, even if it takes up to two years after the elections, for the Inquiry to be set up just to avoid “…Dr. Rodney's name and legacy being treated like a political football,” Roopnarine said.

He added that such an Inquiry must not be set up unilaterally, and party member David Hinds pointed to the motion which was passed in the National Assembly as embracing international participation. On the issue of that motion, Dr. Roopnarine said it was unprecedented for a party which brought a motion to the House to abstain from that same motion, as the government's representatives in the House did.

The government was at odds with the opposition over the wording of that motion which, when the government proposed it, called the death of Rodney an assassination.

The opposition, saying such a wording prejudiced any Inquiry on the cause of Rodney's demise, as his death would have already been pronounced on, successfully had the wording of the motion changed to read ‘killing.” The party said there is good reason for celebrating Rodney's lifetime works and his heritage. It said many people in various continents and Caribbean islands see his teachings as beneficial. Yesterday, the WPA made an appeal saying that on the 26th anniversary of the death of Rodney “let us decide, first of all in our own separate minds, that we will develop a new respect for ourselves and a respect for others, especially of other races and of the other gender, and a new respect for children.” Rodney died on June 13, 1980, when an explosive device concealed in a walkie-talkie he was carrying detonated.

Many theories have been forwarded on who planted the device and whom the intellectual authors were, but so far no one has ever been charged.

Former soldier Gregory Smith, who died a few years ago in French Guiana, was seen as having valuable information on the murder of Rodney, but was never brought home to reveal what he knew, despite several promises from the PPP when in opposition that that would be a priority once the seat of government was achieved.

Kaieteur News

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