More than three decades after then 8 years old Dr Walter Anthony Rodney was killed in a bomb blast on June 13, 1980, in Georgetown, in his homeland, Guyana, an official enquiry got underway last Monday to determine the circumstances of the death.
The internationally renowned historian and charismatic political activist, celebrated for his seminal work, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, was a co-leader of the militant Working People's Alliance (WPA), and was at the frontline of mass protests against President Forbes Burnham People's National Congress (PNC) government.
Gregory Smith, an ex-sergeant of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), and an "agent" of the PNC Government, allegedly delivered a remote-controlled bomb concealed in a walkie-talkie which exploded in Rodney's lap while he was being driven through the city of Georgetown by one of his brothers, Donald Rodney.
The Government of the Republic of Guyana, following a direct request from the Rodney Family, announced on June 13, 2013,that it has approved the establishment of an International Commission of Inquiry into the assassination of Dr. Walter Rodney.
The probe is led by three well-recognised Caribbean legal luminaries-- Barbadian Queen's Counsel Sir Richard Cheltenham, chairman; Jamaican QC Jacqueline Samuels-Brown; and Guyana-born senior counsel Seenauth Jairam, who resides and works in Trinidad and Tobago.
The purpose of the hearings will be for the commission to receive testimony and evidence from interested parties to enable it to 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.
The commission will also 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 as well as 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 counseled, procured, aided and or abetted him to do so, including facilitating his departure from Guyana after Dr Walter Rodney's death.