RODNEY’S DEATH: AN ENIGMA BEING ANSWERED

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Special Report on the Rodney Commission of Inquiry by Shaun Michael Samaroo

Remote trigger detonated bomb that killed Rodney

EVIDENCE shows that a remote trigger exploded the bomb that shattered the peace of Georgetown and killed Dr Walter Rodney, in the worst political assassination in the history of the Commonwealth Caribbean.

Nirmal Rohit Kanhai, an expert witness appearing at the Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry, said yesterday that someone rigged the bomb that exploded in Dr Rodney’s lap on the night of Friday, June 13, 1980, to cause grave mortal harm to its victim.
Dr Rodney died instantly when the bomb, disguised as a communications device, exploded in his car, wounding his brother, Donald Rodney, who escaped to tell the truth of what happened that fateful night.

Kanhai’s testimony provides two crucial pillars to the case building up at the Commission:
– Kanhai is an avowed critic of the PPP, thus debunking irrational Opposition cries about the Commission’s impartiality;

– Kanhai provides detailed technical facts confirming that long-time PNC Government claims that Dr Rodney accidentally caused the bomb to explode in his lap are false. Kanhai confirms that, based on his research of the technical details, the bomb exploded after someone triggered the explosion with a remote trigger.

President Donald Ramotar
President Donald Ramotar

Kanhai’s testimony reveals an intriguing series of events that took decades to come to light, but resulted in the Presidential Commission of Inquiry that President Donald Ramotar convened early this year.
Justice in the political assassination of Dr Rodney 34 years ago remained in limbo for three-and-a-half decades, but serendipity and fate showed up to deliver victory, and those who plotted and conspired to cause the demise of one of Guyana’s greatest historians today face the public revelation of their dark secrets.

Nirmal Rohit Kanhai
Nirmal Rohit Kanhai

Two men never forgot Dr Rodney’s assassination. Living in the United States, Dr Nigel Westmaas and Nirmal Rohit Kanhai, unbeknownst to each other, sought documents, and hoped with grieving hearts that justice would prevail for their late political leader.
Dr Westmaas testified at the Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry, now going on at the High Court in Georgetown, earlier this year, while Kanhai testified yesterday, detailing the miraculous coming together of a body of research, thinking and likeness of minds to ensure justice for Dr Rodney.
Evidence and testimonies emerging at the Presidential Commission unmask the Government of the People’s National Congress (PNC) as a dictatorial, brutal regime that conspired and plotted nefarious schemes to harass and intimidate political opponents, put Guyanese under intense secret surveillance, and restrict the human rights of citizens.
Kanhai and Dr Westmaas accumulated much of the core documents that have become evidence at the Commission. These documents, along with scores of witness testimonies, official documents sourced from foreign Governments and other research, are piling up as evidence to confirm that Dr Rodney met his demise in a political conspiracy involving the State machinery of the PNC Government.
Kanhai, an expert witness on the technicality of the bomb that instantly killed Dr Rodney, confirmed that only the military would have had the capability to build such a device and execute its explosion. Testimony after testimony consistently finger the Guyana Defense Force (GDF) as the pivot point of a nefarious PNC Government conspiracy to harass and intimidate, and possibly assassinate the populist political leader.
For the past three-and-a-half decades, suspicion throughout the world fell on the State machinery of the PNC Government for conspiring, plotting, scheming and executing the assassination plot against Dr Rodney, and other members of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) Party that he helped found.
Kanhai’s witness statement provides an important element to the Commission’s work, in that it debunks the myth that the Commission serves the best interest of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP). On the contrary, Kanhai liberally criticises the PPP in his statement, noting that he quit the Party in 1976 to join the WPA.
The PNC turned a blind eye to the Commission, seeking to shift focus to the Commission’s Terms of Reference, implying that the Government set up the Commission as a witch-hunt against the PNC, now a part of the Opposition coalition with the WPA in A Partnership of National Unity (APNU).
The distinguished Commission comprises accomplished, respected, outstanding legal luminaries from the Caribbean, in Barbadian Sir Richard Cheltenham; Seenath Jairam of Trinidad and Tobago; and Jacqueline Samuels-Brown of Jamaica. The PNC ignores the professional ethics and moral integrity of the Commissioners in its narrow-minded critique of the Commission.
Only PNC Counsel Basil Williams plays a role in the quest of the Commission to find the truth of how and why Dr Rodney was assassinated; and this week, Williams has adopted a less antagonistic, and more cooperative and engaging stance in relation to the Commission’s work.
But Kanhai’s testimony provides two crucial pillars to the case building up at the Commission:

– Kanhai is an avowed critic of the PPP, thus debunking irrational Opposition cries about the Commission’s impartiality;
– Kanhai provides detailed technical facts confirming that long-time PNC Government claims that Dr Rodney accidentally caused the bomb to explode in his lap are false. Kanhai confirms that, based on his research of the
technical details, the bomb exploded after someone triggered it by way of a remote device.
But his witness statement also sheds interesting light on how the Commission came into being, after being in limbo for 34 years.
Kanhai said the international controversy stirred up after the South African Government announced it was awarding Forbes Burnham, posthumously, the prestigious Oliver Tambo Award “proved to be an important aspect into my investigations into the death of Dr Rodney.”
He said as the controversy raged (which caused the South African government to cancel the award), Dr Westmaas contacted him to co-author an article on the cold case of the assassination.
Kanhai said he agreed, and travelled from New York to Dr Westmaas’ house elsewhere in the US, and was astounded at the amount of information on the case that Dr Westmaas had accumulated over the years. “He showed me a folder he had on the Rodney matter. As I glanced through the collection, I was virtually astounded; my examination of the documents was a revelation”.
Taking the file with him on a family trip to Canada, Kanhai read the content with growing interest and excitement.
Kanhai encountered an official report which had remained secret, but which Dr Westmaas had sourced, and several other crucial reports on the assassination.
“For the first time I saw the Skuse and Johnson reports. I also saw documents I never had access to even though they were public documents, e.g. the CID report, the ICJ report, the Ian Chang report, the 1988 Inquest of Dr Rodney, etc,” Kanhai said.
He came across the book written by main suspect in the Dr Rodney assassination, ex-Intelligence officer of the GDF, Gregory Smith, which tried to show that Dr Rodney accidentally caused the bomb to explode. The book, ‘Assassination Cry of a Failed Revolution: The Truth About Dr Walter Rodney’s Death’, is tendered as evidence at the Commission.
Kanhai detailed the process that led to him seeing the Commission convened, and his satisfaction to be able to testify. “I knew that whatever information came out of the Inquiry would have dramatic effect in whatever my investigations revealed,” Kanhai said.
Kanhai’s statement and testimony provides the Commission of Inquiry with expert technical details linking the assassination of Dr Rodney with the State machinery of the PNC Government.
His witness statement is a detailing of his experiences as a WPA activist during the PNC dictatorship, when he faced immense harassment and intimidation at the hands of the State machinery, and his thorough research and technical work into the actual bombing of Dr Rodney.