PPP Gov’t to change key details on Walter Rodney’s death certificate
- will make his gravesite a national monument
Some 41 years after his death, the Irfaan Ali led government has formally announced moves to properly honour prominent Guyanese historian, political activist and academic, Dr. Walter Rodney.
In a statement to the National Assembly on Thursday, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, SC, said efforts will be taken to change key details on Rodney’s death certificate and make his gravesite a national monument.
Nandlall said the actions follow a request by Rodney’s family, his wife, children and brother, to bring a level of closure. Nandlall said although “this son of Guyana” was known and respected throughout the world for his academic accomplishments, scholarship and activism, his death certificate described him as “unemployed’’.
The AG said, “this historical wrong will be corrected and the death certificate will be corrected to read ‘Professor’ instead of ‘unemployed’.”
Additionally, with a 2014 Commission of Inquiry (CoI) already declaring that Rodney’s death was not a misadventure but rather an assassination, the Attorney General said his death certificate will be amended to delete the words ‘’misadventure’’ as the cause of death and substitute, therefore, the word ‘’assassination’’.
The Rodney Gravesite and Memorial are currently being managed collaboratively between the Rodney family and the National Trust but the government intends to have it declared a National Monument to fall fully under the administration of the National Trust.
Nandlall also pointed out that one of the greatest tragedies flowing from Dr. Rodney’s death is the loss of his scholarship to the people of Guyana. To this end, the books he wrote will be placed on the national syllabus by the Ministry of Education and in the hands of primary and secondary school students across Guyana. Additionally, his other major works, including, A History of the Guyanese Working People, Guyanese Sugar Plantations in the late Nineteenth Century, and How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, shall be made available to the library of the University of Guyana.
The Walter Rodney Chair at the University of Guyana will also be re-established, Nandlall said.
He assured that every effort will be made to remove and expunge all public records that intimate any level of guilt or wrongdoing by Dr Walter Rodney in relation to the June 13, 1980 tragedy which claimed his life.
“We have already begun and will continue our efforts to secure the record of the 2014 Commission of Inquiry. Those records will be digitised by our National Archives, recently renamed the Walter Rodney National Archives,” he added.
June 13, 2021, will mark the 41st death anniversary of Dr Rodney.
An Inquest was conducted eight years after Dr. Rodney’s death and the findings were that Dr. Rodney died by “misadventure”. This inquest was reviewed by the 2014 Commission of Inquiry and found to be incredible, flawed and dubious.
Steps will be taken to invalidate or set aside the perverse findings of that inquest.