Report of the Commission of Inquiry Appointed to Enquire and Report on the Circumstances Surrounding the Death of the Late Dr. Walter Rodney on Thirteenth Day of June, One Thousand Nine Hundred and Eighty at Georgetown [Guyana], report issued February 8, 2016
The Commission of Inquiry on the Circumstances Surrounding the Death of the Late Dr. Walter Rodney on June 13, 1980
Dr. Walter Rodney (1942-1980) was a historian, scholar, educator, prolific author, Pan-Africanist, and political activist. He is recognized as one of the Caribbean’s most brilliant minds – his scholarly works and political activism engendered a new political consciousness. Walter Rodney is widely known for his seminal work, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, that established a new paradigm for understanding the enduring impact and legacy of colonialism on the development of African countries.
Between 1974 and 1980, Rodney emerged as a leading figure in the resistance movement against the increasingly authoritarian and repressive Guyana government led by Prime Minister Forbes Burnham. On June 13, 1980 Walter Rodney was killed by a bomb hidden in a walkie-talkie.
In 2014, thirty-four years after Rodney’s death, a Commission of Inquiry was appointed by then President of Guyana Donald Ramotar. The Commission’s Report is the culmination of a two-year process. The Commissioners were Sir Richard Cheltenham, K.A, Q.C., (Chairman); Mr. Seenath Jairam, S.C. (Member); and Mrs. Jacqueline Samuels-Browne, Q.C. (Member). There were 11 sittings, with 66 sessions, and evidence from 31 witnesses.
The Commission’s report outlines the evidence and testimony that leads to its conclusion that the Guyanese government and its army and police branches were complicit in the assassination of Dr. Walter Rodney. The report ends with recommendations to improve the professionalism, speed, efficiency, and thoroughness of the operations of the Guyana Coroner’s Department, police force and army in service to the people of Guyana.