PPP backs down from participating in Lindo Creek COI

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The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) says it now finds it difficult to participate in the Commission of Inquiry (COI) set up to investigate the 2008 Lindo Creek Massacre.

This position by the PPP deviates from the initial stance taken by its General Secretary and former President, Bharrat Jagdeo, who told a news conference on Saturday, January 27, 2018 that the PPP will be willing to give evidence at the COI. See story here: https://newsroom.gy/2018/01/28/ppp-willing-to-testify-at-coi-into-extra-judicial-killings/ 

However, a statement from the PPP on Wednesday, January 31, 2018, stated that “the PPP would find it difficult to participate given the nature of the Commission’s establishment, including the decision to start an inquiry with the incidents at Lindo Creek, as opposed to a more comprehensive review of the crime wave.”

Earlier Wednesday, retired Judge, Donald Trotman was appointed to head the COI and the PPP took issue with this.

“Additionally, the Party wishes to register its concerns about the obvious conflict of interest in naming a Commissioner, who is the father of a sitting Cabinet Minister and Leader of the Alliance For Change (AFC), one of the partners of the Coalition Government.”

 

See full statement issued by the PPP below:

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) notes the appointment of Retired Justice, Donald Trotman, as the sole Commissioner on the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the June 2008 deaths of eight miners – Dax Arokium, Cedric Arokium, Compton Speirs, Horace Drakes, Clifton Wong, Lancelot Lee, Bonny Harry and Nigel Torres – whose burnt remains were discovered on June 21, 2008, at the Lindo Creek mining camp.

The Party also notes the unilateral establishment of the Commission of Inquiry, like others named under the Granger-led Government, and wishes to underscore the deviation from the former PPP/C Administration’s approach to ensure that such undertakings were done in a bipartisan manner.

It appears that this Commission was established with a political objective. Due to the partisan approach in establishing the Commission, which does not inspire trust and confidence, persons with vital information may be reluctant to come forward.

The PPP would find it difficult to participate given the nature of the Commission’s establishment, including the decision to start an inquiry with the incidents at Lindo Creek, as opposed to a more comprehensive review of the crime wave. Additionally, the Party wishes to register its concerns about the obvious conflict of interest in naming a Commissioner, who is the father of a sitting Cabinet Minister and Leader of the Alliance For Change (AFC), one of the partners of the Coalition Government.

This move speaks volumes about the nepotistic tendencies of the current Administration. The Party is also concerned that only one Commissioner has been named on such a sensitive Commission. Additionally, the Order signed by President Granger, which establishes the Commission, names its members and defines its Terms of Reference, remain a mystery, since it has not been published, as required by law, in the Official Gazette up to the time of Mr Trotman’s swearing-in.

There are also concerns about Minister Joseph Harmon’s comments – that the Commission would have to determine whether any senior officer should be sent on leave during the period of the inquiry (Demerara Waves – January 31, 2018) – since it seems to indicate clearly that the APNU+AFC Coalition Government is hell-bent on going after the joint-services and leaders that do not seem to ‘fall in line’ with the agenda of this authoritarian government.

Minister Harmon’s statement seems to preempt the actions of the Commission, even before it commences its work. We have seen similar witch-hunting of top officials of our security forces, following the establishment of the Paul Slowe Commission of Inquiry and the government’s interference in the Police Service Commission’s promotion of senior police officers. The PPP wishes to make clear that it will vehemently reject any attempts to erode the level of professionalism of Guyana’s security forces and the undermining of the functions of the civilian law enforcement authorities of Guyana. January 31, 2018

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