Saturday, February 21, 2015

Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry - Donald Rodney testimony

By Selwyn A. Pieters, B.A., LL.B., L.E.C.
Lawyer & Notary Public (Ontario, Canada)
Attorney-at-Law (Republic of Guyana, Island of Trinidad)
Posted on February 21, 2015

The Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry has three Commissioners: Sir. Richard L. Cheltenham, K.A., Q.C., Ph.D – Chairman (Barbados); Mrs. Jacqueline Samuels-Brown, Q.C. (Jamaica) and Mr. Seenath Jairam, S.C. (Trinidad). The Commission’s mandate established by its terms of reference is:-
(i) 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;
(ii) To 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;
(iii) To specifically 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 counselled, procured, aided and or abetted him to do so, including facilitating his departure from Guyana after Dr. Walter Rodney’s death;
(iv) To examine and report on the actions and activities of the State, such as, the Guyana Police Force, the Guyana Defence Force, the Guyana National Service, the Guyana People’s Militia and those who were in command and superintendence of these agencies, to determine whether they were tasked with the surveillance of and the carrying out of actions, and whether they did execute those tasks and carried out those actions against the Political Opposition, for the period 1st January, 1978 to 31st December, 1980;
(v) To examine, review and report on earlier investigations and enquiries done on and into the death of Dr. Walter Rodney.

Mr. Donald Rodney was the sole eye-witness and brother of co-founder of the Working People's Alliance Dr. Walter Rodney who was killed in an explosion on June 13, 1980 in Georgetown, Guyana, while they were allegedly testing an apparent walkie-talkie (which in fact was an explosive device) put together by William Gregory Smith, a Guyana Defence Force Sergeant. As will be seen below, Donald Rodney claimed to be working on a "need to know principle" on the one hand, and being duped by Gregory Smith on the other. He is the only surviving actor in this explosion. My cross-examination below of Donald Rodney must be looked at from the lens summarized byThe Honourable Edward Saunders who observed that:
Determining credibility is the most difficult task facing any adjudicator. It is particularly so in refugee claims, where there is often no independent evidence. If the result of a claim comes down to a determination of credibility, is a nightmare for the adjudicator. Whatever the decision, it will be never known with certainty by anyone but the claimant whether the determination was right or wrong. If it is right, there is no problem. If it is wrong, the claimant will be left with either a permanent feeling of injustice or with a triumphant feeling that he or she managed to hoodwinked the panel.
The cross-examination that I conduct on Mr. Rodney went to no reprisal actions being taken in respect to Donald's employment for his brother's political activity. I also addressed his refugee claim, and subsequent re-availment, I also dealt with the moving away of Dr Walter Rodney from his political brothers to his blood brothers. I explored the need to know principle and the failure to notify WPA hierarchy of Gregory Smith. Some focus was on the trial of Donald Rodney, the delay in his appeal and its subsequent dismissal, and whether steps were taken or contemplated to file for special leave to appeal in respect to Donald's claim that he was wrongfully convicted by Magistrate Norma Jackman. 

Attorney for the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) [Mr. Selwyn Pieters]:

No Negative employment Consequences pre-June 1980 Explosion

Donald Rodney performed work for the GDF, the Prime Minister and a Government Minister

Mr. Ram: I wish to take you Mr. Rodney to paragraph 7, well paragraph 5 and 6 identified the work you did whilst you were an employee at the Ministry of Works and Transport in Georgetown Guyana. Is that correct?
Mr. Rodney: Yes, Sir.
Mr. Ram: Can you say what were the types of activities you performed at the locations you referred to in paragraph 7?
Mr. Chairman: I miss that Mr. Ram and could you repeat it and to the extent that he referred to locations in paragraph 7 carry your listening public with you remind him what you are talking about. Which location?
Mr. Ram: Thank you, Sir, I am guided.
Mr. Chairman: Very well.
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: You have page, paragraph 7 there?
Mr. Ram: Yes, Madam.
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: Because it is loosed.
Mr. Ram: It is loosed in mine too, Madam. Yes, Mr. Rodney, you have paragraph 7?
Mr. Rodney: Yes, Sir.
Mr. Ram: Can you read paragraph 7 B?
Mr. Rodney: “On an occasion in 1978 or 1979 I was assigned to assist a CID in a Police investigation into a quantity of a certain type of timber called round wood in particular camps of the Guyana Defense Force.”
Mr. Ram: Okay, thank you. Paragraph C?
Mr. Rodney: “In 1978 or 1979 I was called to I was called to one of the Ministry’s buildings where Mr. Desmond Hoyte, then Minister of Economic and planning met me. He told me he had building works done at his house. Differences had arisen between himself and the builders as regards the final cost. Could I have a look at the works in question and given opinion or advice, I saw appropriate.”
Mr. Ram: And could you read paragraph D, please?
Mr. Rodney: “In 1979 or 1980 to my best recollection, I was requested to assist with measures to stem the cost overruns at the swimming of Prime Minister Forbes Burnham. This request came from the private architect to the prime Minister and involve a visit to the official residence to inspect the swimming pool works and on site kiln…”
Mr. Ram: “…on site kiln…”
Mr. Rodney: “…for firing tires.”
Mr. Ram: Where was the swimming pool located in relation to the Prime Minister, please?
Mr. Rodney: It would have been adjacent, sorry, it was adjacent.
Mr. Ram: Can you say, Mr. Rodney, what type of activities you performed at those locations?
Mr. Rodney: Well, essentially, there were inspection type a activity where one relied on your inspection and in one case,  the case of the GDF camp, it involvement measurement, but the others really were essentially inspection because after the preliminary inspection, there was no need in the circumstances to go forward.

No Retaliation for his ties to Dr. Walter Rodney
Mr. Pieters: Thank you. I am now going to deal with your employment and you would agree that prior to 13th June, 1980, you did not attract any negative attention from the Government of Guyana or the security forces?
Mr. Rodney: Not that I am aware of.
Mr. Pieters: You would agree that between 1978 to 1980, you were not terminated from your employment on account of your brother’s political activities. You would agree with that?
Mr. Rodney: I did not follow the question.
Mr. Pieters: Okay, I will repeat the question. Between 1978 and 12th June, 1980, you were employed in the capacity of a Senior Quality officer with the Government?
Mr. Rodney: Yes Sir.
Mr. Pieters: All I ask you is, you suffered no negative consequences including termination as a result of your brother’s political activities? You suffered no retaliations from the Government or your employer?
Mr. Rodney: Well I was dismissed.
Mr. Pieters: And you were dismissed after the events that occurred on 13th June, 1980, correct?
Mr. Rodney: Yes Sir.
Mr. Pieters: Right, and prior to, my question stopped at 12th June, 1980. You had no negative employment consequences prior to the explosion?
Mr. Rodney: Not that I am aware of.
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: Could we find out when he was dismissed please?
Mr. Pieters: Yes Madam Commissioner. The Commissioner just asked when you were dismissed, can you advise us?
Mr. Rodney: I effectively was interdicted, that is the word I was looking for. I effectively was interdicted from my job on 13th June, 1980 and my termination was effective February 1982 following the date of my conviction.
Mr. Pieters: For what?
Mr. Rodney: I could say that again.
Mr. Pieters: No it is fine unless the Commissioner had a question in respect to that.
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: No I would have indicated, I am fine thanks.
Mr. Chairman: Getting back to the questions being asked by Mr. Pieters, one and two answers you gave earlier. So would you attribute your termination in the Government…did they tell you why they terminated you though?
Mr. Rodney: Okay, I was interdicted because I was charged and I was terminated I was found guilty.
Mr. Chairman: Was it normal at that time for people who were found guilty for what was that a misdemeanor? Mr. Pieters, was that then a misdemeanor or…
Mr. Pieters: Mr. Chairman, it is likely that he would have lost his employment in the circumstances of his conviction.
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: Mr. Pieters, I think the Chairman is asking you if it was a misdemeanor. Are you familiar with the processes and the civil service rules here in Guyana at the time?
Mr. Pieters: I have some familiarity with how public servants are treated in these circumstances. I think I read a 1960 or 1962 case, Abrams versus the Anglican Church and so the public service does have a structure if you are convicted of a crime. It could even be a simple crime, you can lose your employment.
Mr. Chairman: What was the Abrams case, what was he convicted of?
Mr. Pieters: He was convicted of disseminating political materials that was considered subversive.
Mr. Chairman: Very well, continue.

Blood-Brothers Bonding

Mr. Scotland: Now let me go to your involvement with Dr. Walter Rodney relative to his struggle. Now, tell us how did you become involved and I want to take you to paragraph 14 of your witness statement if we can start from there. How did you get involved to be close to Dr. Walter Rodney in June 1980, apart from the being his brother. Tell us from paragraph 14.
Mr. Rodney: I approached Walter and there were a number of events that caused me to approach Walter.
Mr. Scotland: Alright.
Mr. Rodney: To ask how I could assist and I can give examples of those events.

Mr. Ram: You had a close relationship with your brother, Walter Rodney, is that correct?
Mr. Rodney: Yes, Sir.

Mr. Pieters: Very well. I am just moving off now to paragraph 15 of your witness statement. Would you agree with me that...
Mr. Rodney: I have it.
Mr. Pieters: Would you agree with me that Father Dark’s death drew you closer to Dr. Walter Rodney?
Mr. Rodney: Could you repeat, please, Sir?
Mr. Pieters: Sorry about that. I had a fly interrupting me while I was asking questions; but, would you agree [Laughter] ...would you agree –yes, I have a phobia with flies and mosquitos- would you agree that after Father Darke’s death, Dr. Rodney grew closer to you, and your other brother, Eddie?
Mr. Rodney: I do not want to disagree with you. I do not disagree with you. I would say that after Father Dark’s death, it was a turning point in the society, generally. It was a turning point for me, personally. That turning point would have included drawing near to Walter.
Mr. Pieters: Right. I asked you that question, because your brother, Edward, provided evidence on 2nd May, 2014. I am not sure whether the Commissioners have that transcript available, but I will simply read it into the record so we do not have to...
Mr. Chairman: What is it that you are proposing to read into the record?

Donald Rodney Rejects Recollection of Brother Eddie Rodney
Mr. Pieters: I am proposing to read into the record some evidence that Eddie Rodney provided to the Commission, and to ask this witness whether he agrees.
Mr. Chairman: You cannot ask that question without reading that into the record?
Mr. Pieters: I think the part I wanted to ask is so important that I wanted to read it into the record.
Mr. Chairman: Okay, okay. I am not to inhibit you. Tell us the page you are referring to. We have the verbatim report of the proceedings, Friday, 02nd May, 2014.
Mr. Pieters: Right. So, I am looking at page 38, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman: And, who is testifying?
Mr. Pieters: Mr. Lawrence Rodney, I believe is the correct name of the...
Mr. Chairman: Is that Edward, the brother?
Mr. Pieters: Yes.
Mr. Chairman: Testimony of Mr. Edward Rodney, page 38?
Mr. Pieters: Correct.
Mr. Chairman: Yes, and which paragraph? Which...
Mr. Pieters: It starts with Mr. Hanoman asking... it is the second direct question on that page...
Mr. Chairman: “Did Walter ever tell you he had any means that they may want to cause him physical harm?”
Mr. Pieters: Correct. This is what Mr. Edward Rodney said at that point. “Well, again, he would not say openly that he has enemies. It was out there that people were saying things; people were doing things, especially after Father Darke’s murder. After Father Darke’s murder, we both stood in the Brickdam Cathedral surroundings while the ceremony was going on. He was standing right next to me, and he made it very clear that this was it; that myself, and him, both of us were in the firing line. He did not distinguish between me and him at that level, especially after Father Dark’s killing.” You saw that paragraph?
Mr. Chairman: And, who is “he” that did not distinguish, that he is referring to?
Mr. Pieters: The “He” would be Dr. Walter Rodney. Now, Donald Rodney, were you are that funeral as well?
Mr. Rodney: I was at that funeral, yes.
Mr. Pieters: Were you standing with Edward and Dr. Rodney when that statement was made?
Mr. Rodney: I do not recall.
Mr. Pieters: Is it possible that you could have been an ear witness to this conversation?
Mr. Rodney: I think it is improbable, because if it were, I would have recalled.
Mr. Pieters: Very well. Do you recall... let me ask you this, at any point, at any other point, would you have been hanging out, standing with your brother at the Brickdam Cathedral? Do you recall any other point in 1979?
Mr. Rodney: Any time during the year?
Mr. Pieters: June, 1979; let us say.
Mr. Rodney: Brickdam Cathedral, no, Sir. I do not recall.
Mr. Pieters: Do you recall at any other point you would have been standing with Edward Rodney between 1978, and 1979?
Mr. Chairman: That is so long, and so vague. Do you want to suggest something? I think he...
Mr. Pieters: Yes, I will. Alright, very well... let us look at page 61 –Mr. Chairman, I do not know where these flies came from, but they are just...- let us look at the record, 02nd May, 2014.
Mr. Rodney: I have it.
Mr. Pieters: Mr. Rodney, you mentioned the speech that Forbes Burnham gave between 22nd January and 26th; and Father Darke’s matter that became seminal for you in terms of the change in your perspective and stance towards the Government of the day. Correct?
Mr. Rodney: I mentioned it in terms of the threat against Walter.
Mr. Pieters: Right. And you saw the quote that I just made or I just took you through that occurred at the Brickdam Cathedral?
Mr. Rodney: I have seen the reference in the Court Proceedings… Commission Proceedings, sorry, on page 6, I have seen that.
Mr. Pieters: Was there a blood pact between the brothers that night when you stood outside the Brickdam Cathedral?
Mr. Chairman: “A blood pact” meaning what? What is that?
Mr. Pieters: A blood pact is “one for all and all for one”.
Mr. Chairman: Never heard of it.
Mr. Rodney: No, Sir.
Mr. Chairman: Are you clearer, Mr. Rodney, what he is asking?
Mr. Rodney: I said “no”, Sir.
Mr. Chairman: That you know?
Mr. Rodney: I thought the question was whether there was a blood pact and I said “no”, Sir.

The issue of guns - Donald Rodney Rejects Eddie Rodney Testimony on the issue of Guns beings offered to them for sale

Mr. Pieters: There was a question asked here, and Mr. Hanoman said, “Could you tell us what is the second-hand knowledge about what caused the explosion, and caused the death of Walter Rodney?” And, Mr. Rodney said, “Some time before the time 1979, learned Counsel; I was in the company of Donald, and whilst we were in the vicinity of Brickdam Cathedral, an individual came up to us and asked if we wanted to purchase –I do not know if it was an automatic or whatsoever...” Do you recall an incident of that nature occurring?
Mr. Rodney: No, Sir.
Mr. Pieters: Let us look further down, Mr. Hanoman says, “A gun? You mean a gun?” and Mr. Rodney says, “Yes, a weapon; a firearm. I do not know who would have put that prompt together. All I know is that based on Donald’s knowledge, and based on my own experiences previously in 1978 of people coming forward and offering to procure or sell weapons publicly to me, and Donald, that there must have been a network of some kind.” Do you recall any discussion of this nature taking place between yourself and your brother, Edward?
Mr. Rodney: I do not recall, Sir.
Mr. Pieters: And, you do not recall because the passage of time? Is that what it is?
Mr. Rodney: Well, I do not recall. There is nothing written here that prompts me to remember such an occasion.

Series of events

Mr. Pieters: Would you consider between July, 1979, and let us say April, 1980… Would you consider all those activities a series of events? The speech that Burnham gave in August, 1979, the death of Father Darke and the new Constitution; would you consider all of that as series of events?
Mr. Chairman: What does that mean?
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: When you say series of events… Does that mean one after the other?
Mr. Pieters: Yes, he is speaking about a dictatorship...
Mr. Rodney: Well I saw them as events that were related.
Mr. Pieters: So you consider those events related?
Mr. Rodney: Yes, they are related in some way.
Mr. Pieters: Would you consider them a series of events in the life of the Government of Guyana moving towards, as you termed it, a dictatorship?
Mr. Rodney: Yes, Sir.

Silence is golden - "need to know principle"

Mr. Pieters: You spoke about a need-to-know principle that you ascribed to when you voluntarily joined the resistance movements?
Mr. Rodney: Yes, Sir.
Mr. Pieters: You spoke about the information that you would have in your position to be limited in the event that you would have been detained and torture by State?
Mr. Rodney: By agents of the State, yes, Sir.
Mr. Pieters: Would you accept then on your premise the only information that may have been shared with you by Walter Rodney would be that which you were required to carry out any task assigned to you?
Mr. Rodney: That is the normal… my understanding of the need to know principle. Yes.
Mr. Pieters: Let me ask you this about walky-talkies. Did you know, at the material time, that one required a license to have walkie-talkie?
Mr. Rodney: No, Sir.
Mr. Rodney: Could I…? I answer the question already early on about license for walkie-talkie? I was not aware of a license as such, but I knew one had to get some sort of permission.
Mr. Pieters: Very well.

Handing over Donald's Passport to Walter Rodney

Mr. Pieters: Yes, thank you very much. Mr. Rodney, you had provided evidence to the Commission that at some point Dr. Rodney had a discussion with you concerning the use of your passport.
Mr. Rodney: That is correct.
Mr. Pieters: In terms of that discussion, did you agree that you would let Dr. Rodney use your passport?
Mr. Rodney: That is correct.
Mr. Pieters: Did you know for what purpose Dr. Rodney wanted to use your passport?
Mr. Rodney: I presumed for the purpose of travel.
Mr. Pieters: Did you know where?
Mr. Rodney: No, I did not know where.
Mr. Pieters: Did you know when that event occurred?
Mr. Rodney: To the best of my knowledge… To the best of my recollection…
Attorney for Dr. Patricia Rodney, Asha Rodney, Shaka Rodney and Kanini Rodney [Mr. Andrew Pilgrim, Q.C.]: What event? Before the Witness answers; what event, before what event occurred? I do not know what event we are talking about.
Mr. Pieters: No, I said before… did he know when that occurred. I did not say “event”.
Mr. Pilgrim: I thought that you did. When, what occurred then? What occurred, the travel or…?
Mr. Pieters: No, Mr. Pilgrim. When the discussion in respect to the passport took place?
Mr. Rodney: I was saying that as far I could recall it was in 1980.
Mr. Pieters: Would that have been in early 1980?
Mr. Rodney: Well, it would have been before Jun, 1980. I would say early 1980.
Mr. Pieters: Well, there would have been the first period, January, February, March or the second period?
Mr. Rodney: I cannot recall right now.
Mr. Pieters: But you were provided to allow Dr. Rodney to use your passport?
Mr. Rodney: That is correct.
Mr. Pieters: And he nixed that because, as you testified, he did not want you to get in trouble?
Mr. Rodney: He eventually returned it unused.
Mr. Pieters: Oh, you actually handed it over to him.
Mr. Rodney: I did.
Mr. Pieters: And you understood that Dr. Rodney had left Guyana at some point to attend the independence Celebration in Zimbabwe?
Mr. Rodney: I learnt that later on.
Mr. Pieters: When you say later on, later on meaning…?
Mr. Rodney: Meaning after June, 1980.

William Gregory Smith - and his relationship with the Rodney Brothers
Mr. Scotland: Yes. And, as it relates now to your interaction, or you assisting Dr. Walter Rodney, did you come into contact with one Gregory Smith?
Mr. Rodney: Well, I was introduced to Gregory Smith some time in 1980. I say introduce not personally; in the sense of, I was introduced by Walter, to Gregory Smith. And, when I say introduce, not personally in the sense that we were all three together, but Walter told me of Gregory Smith. And, the fact that Gregory Smith was making walkie-talkies for him, Walter, and I assumed the WPA. But, in any case, I am sure he meant Gregory Smith was making walkie-talkies for Walter.
Mr. Scotland: So, you are telling me you said you were introduced, but not in the traditional sense to Gregory Smith; and that you learnt that he was making walkie-talkies for Dr. Walter Rodney, yes?
Mr. Rodney: That is correct.
Mr. Scotland: So, he told you about Gregory Smith, and his manufacturing of the walkie-talkies. Tell us, on the first occasion that you met Gregory Smith.
Mr. Rodney: Alright. It was some time in 1980, after Walter told me I could assist with collecting or testing the walkie-talkie that was being put together.
Mr. Scotland: Yes. 
Mr. Rodney: And, we went to collect the walkie-talkie together –this is Walter, and myself- in my vehicle. We went to a spot that I was directed to while we were driving, near the corners of Russell and Howes Streets....

Mr. Pieters: I start where I left off yesterday. I do not believe that I asked you this question so I am going to ask you it now. Were you aware at the material time that Williams Smith was a member of the Guyana Defense Force (GDF)?
Mr. Rodney: I was aware that he was an ex-member of the GDF.
Mr. Pieters: How did you become so aware?
Mr. Rodney: I became aware of that through Walter.
Mr. Pieters: Very well. Let me ask you this because I think part of your evidence was you sort of formed yourself as a buffer between Dr. Rodney and Mr. Smith. That is the way I sort of got your role, in your interaction with Smith. Is that correct?
Mr. Rodney: Well at the time I saw myself as a go between and the word ‘buffer’ came up later on but at the time I saw myself as a go between Walter and Gregory Smith for the purposes of collecting the walkie-talkie, which Gregory Smith was building.
Mr. Pieters: When you were questioned by your Counsel, I believe it was the Chairman or one of the Commissioners had asked you a question and that question pertained to why you felt you needed to insulate yourself or insert yourself Dr. Rodney and Mr. Smith and you had testified that there was nothing specific to Mr. Smith, simply if the person was not a close family member or closely connected to the political hierarchy of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) then you felt you could be of assistance?
Mr. Rodney: That is true. I did say that.
Mr. Pieters: Did you have any specific concerns with respect to Mr. Smith?
Mr. Rodney: Well indeed, as I said before, I did not know him to be part of the circle of the Working People’s Alliance and of course he was not part of the family.
Mr. Pieters: No, I appreciate that answer. Specific concerns could go in respect to the reliability of Gregory Smith or whether you trusted him as somebody who your brother can be around. Any factors of that sort, did it come into your mind at any point while you were interacting with Gregory Smith?
Mr. Rodney: I did not feel that I had enough information about him or around him to make such a decision so I just had him in the general category that I have described before.
Mr. Pieters: Let me ask you this, at any point while you were interacting with Mr. Smith, did you have a conversation with Eusi Kwayana concerning Gregory Smith?
Mr. Rodney: No, I did not.
Mr. Pieters: What about Tacuma Ogunseye?
Mr. Rodney: I did not.
Mr. Pieters: Rupert Roopnarine?
Mr. Rodney: I did not.
Mr. Pieters: Did you, outside of the trio, yourself, Dr. Rodney and Gregory Smith, discuss Gregory Smith with any other person?
Mr. Rodney: Well I discussed Gregory Smith only with Walter, to the extent that I was a go between the two of them.
Mr. Pieters: I appreciate that, and there was no discussion with Edward Rodney as well?
Mr. Rodney: No discussion with Edward Rodney, who is my brother.
Mr. Pieters: Right. To the best of your knowledge… Well let me put it differently. You would be aware of the evidence that the Commission heard previously as well that none of the person whose name I called a few minutes ago knew of Gregory Smith and his interactions with Dr. Rodney?
Mr. Rodney: Well I am not aware but I would be so informed by your statement.
Mr. Chairman: [Laughter]
Mr. Pieters: You take me at my word?
Mr. Rodney: Well I believe you referred to what the Commission heard.
Mr. Pieters: Very well.
Mr. Rodney: I assume it was therefore said here as a matter of recorded information.
Mr. Chairman: [Laughter]
Mr. Pieters: Let me ask you this. It is a question that I wrote out so I am going to have to read it so I am not going to look at you, I am going to look into my paper. Would you agree that, to the extent that the hierarchy of the WPA had no knowledge of the interactions or contacts between Dr. Rodney and William Smith, that Dr. Rodney kept his relationship…?
Commissioner [Mrs. Jacqueline Samuels-Brown, Q.C.]: Could you pause. Just take yourself back to when you were writing it for us and go a little slower.
Mr. Pieters: Yes, Madam Commissioner, I am so sorry.
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: “Would you agree that, to the extent that the hierarchy of the WPA had no knowledge...”
Mr. Pieters: …of the interactions or contacts between Dr. Rodney and William Smith. That Dr. Rodney kept his relationship and the name of the supplier of walkie-talkies…
Mr. Chairman: His relationship and what is the word that follows?
Mr. Pieters: After relationship and the name of the supplier of walkie-talkies…
Mr. Chairman: Go ahead.
Mr. Pieters: …a secret that was revealed to only those who needed to know and that is you?
Mr. Chairman: That is the question?
Mr. Pieters: You got the question, Mr. Rodney?
Mr. Rodney: I think so.
Mr. Pieters: Well I can repeat it.
Mr. Rodney: Please, yes.
Mr. Pieters: You cannot think so. You either have it or you do not. Would you agree that, to the extent that the hierarchy of the WPA had no knowledge of the interactions or contacts between Dr. Rodney and William Smith, that Dr. Rodney kept his relationship and the name of the supplier of walkie-talkies a secret that was revealed only those who needed to know and that is you?
Mr. Rodney: At the time I would not have been aware of that and I remember at the time when I gave the statement to the Working People’s Alliance, in June 1980, that was for the purpose of letting the Working People’s Alliance know everything that I knew about Gregory Smith so that they could fit it into whatever they knew, but at the time I was not aware that I might have been the only person.
Mr. Chairman: You are saying that, subsequent to the death of your brother, you revealed all that you knew about Gregory to the WPA?
Mr. Rodney: When I gave the statement dated 17th June…
Mr. Pieters: Now, you had given evidence on 30th January, and I am going to look at page 82 of that transcript.
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: Could you repeat, Mr. Pieters, page 82?
Mr. Pieters: Yes 82 of the transcript of 30th January, 2015.
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: Thank you.
Mr. Rodney: I have page 82.
Mr. Pieters: Well just turn over to page 81, towards the bottom.
Mr. Rodney: Yes.
Mr. Pieters: You were giving evidence with respect to an arrangement to pick up Dr. Rodney?
Mr. Rodney: That is right.
Mr. Pieters: You were asked how this arrangement came about?
Mr. Rodney: Yes.
Mr. Pieters: You testified that you were on your way home from work and that you stopped by and it was at that time on that that specific date that Dr. Rodney tasked you with dropping him off to where Gregory Smith resided?
Mr. Rodney: That is correct.
Mr. Pieters: So let me ask you this, did you understand your role on that particular day as a wheelman?
Mr. Chairman: As what?
Mr. Pieters: As the driver or chauffeur for Dr. Rodney?
Mr. Rodney: Did you use a word before “driver” and “chauffeur”?
Mr. Pieters: Well I used the word “wheelman”…
Mr. Rodney: Okay.
Mr. Pieters: …but it is not a term understood here…
Mr. Rodney: Okay.
Mr. Pieters: …so I changed it to chauffeur or driver.
Mr. Rodney: Well that is the role that I turned out to be in. At the time, when I stopped I felt that I was still a go-between, which could be different in particular circumstances to a driver or chauffeur but the role turned out to be a driver or chauffeur
Mr. Pieters: Right because on that particular date, you simply stopped by to see what task if any Dr. Rodney would have had for you. This was on your way home from work. This was not a preplanned arrangement as I understood your evidence?
Mr. Rodney: That is correct. It was not preplanned.
Mr. Pieters: So I am going to suggest to you that given the fact that it was not preplanned that Dr. Rodney may not have alerted Gregory Smith that you would have been coming along when they met on that evening?
Mr. Rodney: I agree with you.
Mr. Pieters: That may have accounted for Gregory Smith surprise when he saw you?
Mr. Rodney: I agree with you.
Mr. Pieters: I would also suggest to you that Gregory Smith would have trusted you to hand over the placebo. You believe it was a walkie-talkie. It was a placebo or an explosive device. He would have trusted you to hand over that device to you as he did?
Mr. Chairman: Is that not inviting him to speculate? Try your best to…
Mr. Pieters: Well I am going to take the long road to get back here then. You recall that you were asked questions with respect to the reliability of Gregory Smith?
Mr. Rodney: I recall that I gave evidence of Walter saying that Gregory Smith was not reliable.
Mr. Pieters: Right and did you provide any opinion or advice to Dr. Rodney in respect to how to deal with Gregory Smith’s unreliability?
Mr. Rodney: At the time… I would say “no”, and at the time the circumstances did not allow because it was the very day of 13th June.
Mr. Chairman: My understanding, Mr. Pieters, is that Walter’s remark that Gregory Smith was unreliable related to his unpunctuality. You know he would tell 08:00hrs and perhaps come at 09:15hrs, that sort of thing. It was unreliability in a particular context, on punctuality.
Mr. Pieters: Very well, Mr. Chairman and…
Mr. Chairman: I think that is the evidence.
Mr. Pieters: Very well, I am guided and, Mr. Rodney, in terms of what the Chairman just said, would agree that… Well your brother was European trained so he would attached a certain importance to punctuality but you would agree that in the Caribbean, in a lot of cases when you are dealing with people on an ad hoc basis, 02:00hrs can turn out to be 03:00hrs or 04:00hrs, much to the chagrin of other people who expect 02:00hrs to be 02:00 hrs.
Mr. Rodney: I understand the variation between Caribbean time and English time.
Mr. Pieters: Very well.
Mr. Pieters: Yes, Madame Commissioner. I am going to make this suggestion to you, Mr. Rodney; I am going to suggest that if Gregory Smith did not trust you, he would have simply provided a convenient excuse for the material not being available on that day.
Mr. Chairman: Are you sure that he can answer that. You are asking him to get into Mr. Smith’s mind and so on. I do not know that is… Anyhow, you get ahead.
Mr. Rodney: I do not know whether or not Gregory Smith trusted me, really, I do not know. I did know at the time, I have no idea now.
Mr. Pieters: I am going to suggest that over the six to seven meetings that you had with him that you developed a relationship with him.
Mr. Rodney: To the extent of course that I have described here already, the number of times and, of course, what the interaction was.
Mr. Pieters: You would not have accepted that package from him had you not trusted him?
Mr. Rodney: I was relying on the directions or instructions rather that I got from Walter that the walkie-talkie would have been ready at that time or…

Knowledge regarding explosive device

Mr. Pieters: I appreciate that but had you known that was an explosive device you would not have accepted that package, would you?
Mr. Rodney: I said so indeed in my statement from the dock and I said it with great emphasis. Unfortunately, the statement from the dock was doctored and I believed that those words, very similar to what you are echoing now may have been in a Day Clean issue subsequent to the conclusion of my trial.
Mr. Pieters: Let me ask you this direct question and this is probably going to be my last question in this area. Did you consider yourself duped?
Mr. Rodney: I think, in retrospect, there was clearly deceptive action. As to how the deceptive action took place might be opened to various interpretations.
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: Could you pause for a moment, please.
Mr. Chairman: The question is: Did you consider yourself duped?
Mr. Rodney: And my answer is that I believe there was deceptive action.
Commissioner [Mr. Seenath Jairam]: In retrospect?
Mr. Rodney: In retrospect, in retrospect.
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: As to how the deception took place…
Mr. Rodney: As to how the deception took place may be open to various interpretation.
Mr. Pieters: Your evidence is that you did not know that that was an explosive device?
Mr. Rodney: My evidence is that I took it to be a walkie-talkie.
Mr. Pieters: Did you believe it to be a walkie-talkie with explosive materials contained within it?
Mr. Rodney: No, Sir, I did not believe that or it did not occur to me.

Police presence on the scene of the bomb blast, Secondary Explosions etc.

Jocelyn Dow's evidence
Ms. Dow: Well in my statement I said that there were several things that seem to me to be questions that were raised at the time that have never, in a sense, surfaced I think in an official investigation. I will start with what was most striking to me at the time and that was that people in the street said to us and other folks that there was a gunshot that rang out as Donald was curled and sprinting away from the car. That is all we know about that.
Mr. Hanoman: Tell us about what you heard of the timing of this gunshot.
Ms. Dow: Well they said that he was running…
Mr. Hanoman: This was after the explosion?
Ms. Dow: Yes, after the explosion.
Mr. Hanoman: About how long after?
Ms. Dow: I mean he was running and people said they heard the shot. I was not there but this was people in the street who I think were credible and it was clearly sometime after the noise of the explosion so I think they would have been aware. I am sure Donald was not aware because I am sure that he was deafened by the explosion but people said that they were quite sure that there was a gunshot.

Cross-examination of Donald Rodney on Dow's evidence
Mr. Pieters: Yes, Mr. Chairman, Selwyn Pieters for the Guyana Trade Unions Congress. Mr. Rodney, Good Afternoon. 
Mr. Rodney: Good afternoon, Sir.
Mr. Pieters: Now, following on the Commissioner’s question; does the prison fence, as you saw it today, does it look materially the same as it was in June, 1980?
Mr. Rodney: Yes, Sir. It does.
Mr. Pieters: I am moving on, Sir. Mr. Rodney, as you drove north on John Street, on 13th June, 1980, did you observe any Police Officers on foot patrol along John Street?
Mr. Rodney: I certainly did not recall Policemen along John Street in a patrolling activity. 
Mr. Pieters: You do not recall Police Officers in a patrolling capacity. Do you recall them in any capacity?
Mr. Rodney: There may have been policemen at Durban Street and John Street and/or the corner of John Street and Bent Street...
Mr. Chairman:  Mr. Rodney, why are you speculating? Do you recall or do you not? You are now saying that there may have been. Did you remember seeing or did you not? It is not a matter to admit to maybe or may not be. Did you see or did you not? Do you recall it?
Mr. Rodney: Well, right now I cannot recall. 
Mr. Pieters: Do you recall seeing any police vehicles on John Street as you drove along that route?
Mr. Chairman: You are talking about June, 1980.
Mr. Rodney: No, Sir.
Mr. Pieters: At the material time, 13th June, 1980.
Mr. Rodney: No, Sir.
Mr. Pieters: You saw no marked Police vehicles?
Mr. Rodney: No, Sir.
Mr. Pieters: Did you see any undercover or plain clothes Police Officers as you would know them, if you did, at the material date?
Mr. Rodney: No, Sir.
Mr. Pieters: Now, in terms of... I asked you two questions while we were on the scene. I would simply put them on the record. As you moved away from the scene of where the explosion occurred to the Croal Street location, did you hear any secondary explosions as you moved along to safety?
Mr. Rodney: No, Sir.
13:52 hrs 
Mr. Pieters: And the second question I asked you as well as you moved along, did you encounter any Police Officers who would have been chasing you?
Mr. Rodney: No, Sir. 
Mr. Pieters: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, those are my questions. 

The testimony regarding Donald Rondey's injuries seems exaggerated at best. At worst, the injuries, Donald's ability to run to Dr. Omawale's residence and his appearance and speech, would indicate that he was not inside the vehicle when the explosion occurred.

Jocelyn Dow's evidence
Mr. Pieters: You also testified that Donald had a big hole in his neck?
Ms. Dow: A hole in his neck, yes.
Mr. Pieters: Can you describe that hole in his neck?
Ms. Dow: It was like around here.
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: It was like what?
Ms. Dow: Around here. Around this side of the neck….
Mr. Pieters: Maybe….
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: She is pointing just below the side of the chin to the neck
Ms. Dow: The chin, and the shoulder blade. There were stuff in it. So, you had a sense of the inner lining.
Mr. Pieters: That was a puncture wound?
Ms. Dow: Yes, it seemed so.
Mr. Pieters: Excuse me?
Ms. Dow: It seemed so, and it turned out to be so.
Mr. Pieters: Very well. At the point that you communicated with Donald Rodney, was he communicative? Could he communicate?
Ms. Dow: Do you mean if he could speak?
Mr. Pieters: Yes.
Ms. Dow: Yes, he could have spoken. He was not speaking though.
Mr. Pieters: He was not speaking. So, there was no damage to his vocal chords?
Ms. Dow: No, in fact, what the Doctor said is one millimetre more and he would have been dead.

Donald Rodney's evidence
Mr. Scotland: Could you recall the injuries that you suffered on that night?
Mr. Rodney: I know the injuries; I just did not know them at that particular time.
Mr. Scotland: Just recall …
Mr. Rodney: Alright, I got lacerations to the throat and the right thumb.
Mr. Chairman: And the left …
Mr. Rodney: The right …
Mr. Scotland: Thumb.
Mr. Rodney: Lacerations to the throat and the right thumb. I had puncture lungs with embedded fragments to my left arm, my left side, my left face and eye.
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: You are going too fast.
Mr. Chairman: You are going too fast.
Mr. Scotland: Go slowly, one by one. Puncture wounds…
Mr. Rodney: Puncture wounds with fragments to my left side, my left arm, face and eye.

Mr. Pieters: Very well. I am going to move on to your injuries and you described the extent of your injuries when you were questioned by your Counsel on 30th January and that is contained from page 20 of the record of 18th February, 2015. You described lacerations to your throat. Do you recall that?
Mr. Rodney: Yes, I recalled that very well.
Mr. Pieters: And when you say you had a laceration to your throat, what is it that you meant by that?
Mr. Rodney: There was a cut to my throat that required two stitches.
Mr. Pieters: Was this a superficial cut?
Mr. Rodney: I am not sure I understand the question, but I will answer it to be best of my understanding.
Mr. Pieters: Well, let me ask you it differently. Can you describe the nature of the laceration to your throat?
Mr. Rodney: Alright, I required two stitches. It clearly would have been from the surface and I would call that superficial. How deep it actually was I could not say. It was immediately under the jaw and it would have been examined, other persons would have seen it better than I could and it was sutured at the time, the very night of 13th June.
Mr. Pieters: My understanding is… Well, let me ask you this. There was not a hole in your throat?
Mr. Chairman: I do not know how far you are going with that Counsel, but it is of no particular interest to the Commission.
Mr. Pieters: Well…
Mr. Chairman: It is totally outside the Terms, let us get on. He had a laceration to his throat, it took two stitches. I do not know how far you are going to carry it but bearing our Terms in mind it seems not to be a terribly relevant issue.
Mr. Pieters: Mr. Rodney, I still require an answer to my question whether or not your throat had a hole in it.
Mr. Chairman: A hole in it?
Mr. Pieters: Yes.
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: Mr. Pieters, see if you can help us because if you can clarify that it would be most helpful. What is the purpose? What particular area are you exploring here?
Mr. Pieters: Generally if someone has a… normally someone who has a throat injury… that is one of the most catastrophic injuries one can have. It cuts your airway off, without quick medical attention someone can actually die.
Mr. Chairman: How is it relevant to our exercise [Inaudible]?
Mr. Pieters: Well, Mr. Chairman, would you allow me to ask my questions, please.

On the appointment of Magistrate Norma Jackman as Land Court Judge

Examination in Chief

Mr. Scotland: In your witness statement at paragraph 58, could you read that into the record briefly please?
Mr. Rodney: Paragraph 58?
Mr. Scotland: Yes.
Mr. Rodney: “As a matter of information after finding me guilty on February the 26th 1982, her worship was promoted and commissioned on the following March 1st to the post of Commissioner of Titles. Attached was a Day Clean copy dated 5th of March, 1982 and marked “DR 5” and my statement on this issue went on to say that a better photograph would be available from the Guyana Chronicle of around the same time.”
Mr. Scotland: So you are telling us, well shortly two days after being convicted, as a matter of fact, the Magistrate who convicted you was promoted to the post of Commissioner of Lands Titles.
Mr. Rodney: Yes, Sir.
Mr. Scotland: And that position is a position concomitant with that of a High Court Judge, there was a promotion.
Mr. Rodney: Yes, Sir.
Mr. Scotland: Mr. Chairman, in those circumstances I would wish to, for the record and for completeness, put in…
Mr. Chairman: How long was she in the service and was that the next step for her to go and how many people were in that zone, and by itself it may mean nothing.
Mr. Scotland: Mr. Chairman, he prefaced it by saying just as a matter of record, as a matter of information, that is how he prefaced this paragraph.
Mr. Chairman: Apart from him prefacing it, it has meant to be of significant to us. What can we read in to it now? I am asking you Counsel, you introduced it.
Mr. Scotland: Well Mr. Chairman, I will submit on it, but I will certainly… I can tell you my submission would be asking the Commission to draw an inference that shortly after he was convicted, this promotion occurred.
Mr. Chairman: Without more?
Mr. Scotland: Yes, I will say prima facie res ipsa loquitur if fact there is more.
Mr. Chairman: Normally the facts speak for themselves, but there is only a single fact.
Mr. Scotland: Mr. Chairman, there is more based on the paltry data of the evidence that was before the Magistrate to convict Donald Rodney, I would make a respectful submission before this Court that no…
Mr. Chairman: Perhaps that time has not come yet.
Mr. Scotland: Well that is what I am saying that I would just like to put it into the record please.
Mr. Chairman: Very well.

Mr. Pieters: Yes of course. Mr. Rodney, you would not have and I think the Chairman alluded to that while you were being question. You would not have had any information in respect to the process with which the magistrate had to go through in order to get that position as a Land Titles Commissioner. Would you have gotten that information?
Mr. Rodney: I would have seen the information in the Day Clean, dated and copied and attached to my witness statement.
Mr. Pieters: No, I appreciate what you saw in a newspaper, but you have not seen her resume. Had you seen her resume?
Mr. Rodney: No, Sir.
Mr. Pieters: Had you seen whether she appeared before a panel of or before the judicial service Commission for an interview?
Mr. Rodney: No, Sir.
Mr. Pieters: You had not seen that. Had you seen what process she went through to be vetted for that position?
Mr. Rodney: No, Sir.
Mr. Pieters: And so your speculation as to how she would have gotten that promotion is not grounded in any fact. You have no evidence that she got that position because of your trial?
Mr. Chairman: Did he speculate on that? I do not think there is any evidence that he speculated on that?
Mr. Pieters: Well let me put it differently Mr. Chairman. You have no evidence, Donald Rodney that Magistrate Jackman, would have been promoted as a result of the conduct of your trial. You agree or disagree that you have no evidence?
Mr. Rodney: I have no evidence.

Convention Refugee Determination and status

Mr. Pieters: You testified… well it is in your Witness Statement that you, at Paragraph 65, filed a successful conventional refugee claim in England?
Mr. Rodney: Could you repeat that, please?
Mr. Pieters: In Paragraph 65 of your…
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: Could you pause, Mr. Pieters, sorry to interrupt. Has the Witness been given a copy of what is now his examination-in-chief? He should have it in his hand.
Mr. Rodney: I think I have it.
Mr. Pieters: You have your Witness…
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: You have your copy but did the Counsel have your a copy?
Mr. Rodney: No, sorry, this is what I have.
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: Could he be handed a copy of his witness statement which is now his examination-in-chief, which has been amplified.
[The Court Marshal handed a copy of Donald Rodney’s statement to the Witness and to the Commissioners]
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: And you are referring to paragraph 65 Mr. Pieters?
Mr. Pieters: Correct.
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: Thank you.
Mr. Chairman: For the purpose of the listening public please, carry them with you. Tell them what you are referring to. If you tell them “paragraph 65” they may not know what you are referring to.
Mr. Pieters: Very well. Mr. Chairman, I am referring to paragraph 65 of the Statement of Donald Rodney dated 24th January, 2015, that is listed as Exhibit DHR 1, and you stated that “In 1984 the persecution nature of my trial was recognised when I sought and obtained asylum in the United Kingdom under the relevant United Nations Convention as a person persecuted for a reason of membership in a particular social group or political opinion.” When is it that you left Guyana after you were released on bail in 1982?
Mr. Rodney: I left Guyana in late 1982, so it was the very same year of my trial.
Mr. Pieters: Did you leave on your passport?
Mr. Rodney: Yes, Sir.
Mr. Pieters: When was it that you became aware of the United Nations Convention or at least the fact that you can assert a claim for asylum in a third country?
Mr. Rodney: That would have been in 1983.
Mr. Pieters: So prior to leaving Guyana, you were not aware that you can assert a claim for convention refugee status?
Mr. Rodney: I was not aware.
Mr. Pieters: You re-availed yourself in 1980?
Mr. Rodney: That is correct. It may be 1989.
Mr. Pieters: Sorry, you re-availed yourself in 1989?
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: Sorry, you “what” yourself? I am just not hearing.
Mr. Chairman: He re-availed himself.
Mr. Pieters: Re-availed.
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: Re-availed?
Mr. Pieters: That is a term that we use…
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: Thank you, I just wanted the word.
Mr. Chairman: You use that term to mean what?
Mr. Pieters: We use that term when we speak of a refugee claimant who returned to his place of former habitual residence.
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: “We” means Canada, I take it?
Mr. Pieters: ‘We’ means Canada, when I perform the role of a Refugee Protection Officer.
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: Thank you.
Mr. Pieters: England uses the same term because it is the same convention.
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: Thank you, I just wanted to know what you meant by ‘we’, whether it was Guyana or Canada.
Mr. Pieters: I do not know if Guyana subscribes to the Convention. Mr. Rodney, when you re-availed yourself, you said in 1989, it was?
Mr. Rodney: Yes, Sir.
Mr. Pieters: Did you suffer any further persecution as you termed it on the basis of your political opinion or membership in a particular social group?
Mr. Chairman: You mean after he arrived in the third country?
Mr. Pieters: No, after you re-availed yourself, after you returned to Guyana…
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: After he returned to Guyana.
Mr. Pieters: …in 1989.
Mr. Rodney: To the extent that really the circumstances of my trial and conviction were not really dealt with and the procedure for my appeal was not dealt with, certainly my subjective interpretation is that this was part and parcel of a victimisation.

On his lawyer Doodnauth Singh, S.C, 

Mr. Pieters: Well, one of your Lawyers was Doodnauth Singh, S.C, correct?
Mr. Rodney: Yes, Sir.
Mr. Pieters: He was your trial Lawyer, was he your appeal Lawyer as well?
Mr. Rodney: He was my trial Lawyer.
Mr. Pieters: Who was your appeal Lawyer?
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: Perhaps you should break it down for the layman, perhaps the layman would think my appeal Lawyer means the person who actually argued my appeal.
Mr. Pieters: Very well.
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: So, you should break it down for him.
Mr. Pieters: Mr. Rodney, after your conviction, a Notice of Appeal was filed in the Guyana Court of Appeal, correct?
Mr. Rodney: I would not be sure where it was filed but it was filed.
Mr. Pieters: And you were released on bail, pending appeal.
Mr. Rodney: Yes.
Mr. Pieters: You would have retained Counsel to deal with the procedural steps that would have taken you to a hearing before the Court of Appeal to deal with your conviction?
Mr. Rodney: In fact, I did not specifically retain Counsel.
Mr. Pieters: Okay, can you explain that. Please.
Mr. Rodney: I did not retain Counsel, specifically. I believe the notice was actually given in court at the time of the conclusion of my trial and that would have been the Counsel that I was last in touch with concerning the appeal at that stage.
Mr. Chairman: You have me lost, Mr. Rodney, help me. You said you did not specifically retain Counsel; somebody else gave you the counsel, he volunteered himself? What does it mean that you did not specifically retain Counsel?
Mr. Rodney: Some of those options that you mentioned, Mr. Chairman, I think might have applied. I believed someone, whilst I was in exile took action so that the appeal did not lapse.
Mr. Pieters: Mr. Rodney, let me help you out because you may not have the record in front of you and the record is ARG 4. I am not sure if the Secretariat can pass that record up.
Mr. Rodney: Yes.
Mr. Pieters: The pages are not numbered, Mr. Rodney but there is a title heading 14/82 and it is towards the ending of the material. I am not sure if the Court Marshall can come forward and get my copy so that Mr. Rodney can find it.
[Court Marshall collected the document from Counsel and handed it to Mr. Rodney]
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: How many pages from the back, Sir?
Mr. Pieters: Just show it to the Commission members.
Mr. Rodney: I see it.
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: Could you tell us what is on the page, Mr. Pieters?
Mr. Pieters: Yes, Madame Commissioner, it says, “Notice of Appeal” in the Court of Appeal Appellate Jurisdiction.
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: Yes, thank you and you say it was received on the 26th February, 1982, at the bottom of the page?
Mr. Pieters: That is correct.
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: Thank you.
Mr. Pieters: Mr. Rodney, do you have that document in front of you?
Mr. Rodney: I have seen it.
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: …provided you with… [Inaudible]
Mr. Rodney: Oh sorry, no I will try to find it. Did I understand it was six pages from the back?
Mr. Pieters: No, you can this copy that I have in my hands. Can you give it to him?
Mr. Rodney: I found it.
Mr. Pieters: At the top says 14/82?
Mr. Rodney: I see it.
Mr. Pieters: Look at “Attorney-at-Law for the Appellate”.
Mr. Rodney: Yes, Sir.
Mr. Pieters: Whose name do you see on that document?
Mr. Rodney: Typed “Doodnauth Singh”.
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: Let me see if I can assist us in moving a little faster. Mr. Rodney, you are aware that Mr. Doodnauth Singh, Attorney at law filed a notice of appeal on your behalf?
Mr. Rodney: This was done in court, immediately following my conviction.
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: So you are aware?
Mr. Rodney: I am aware but I am not aware of the typed document but I supposed the typed document formalises what I understood occurred at the courthouse.
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: Thank you.
Mr. Pieters: Can you take a look at the last page of that document, Mr. Rodney?
Mr. Rodney: Yes, Sir.
Mr. Pieters: That is the document dated 13th February, 1988?
Mr. Rodney: Yes, Sir.
Mr. Pieters: Do you see the name of the lawyer written at the bottom of the page, Sir?
Mr. Rodney: I see signed… the second name is Singh.
Mr. Pieters: Excuse me?
Mr. Rodney: I see signed, it is not “Doodnauth”. I do not read the first name as “Doodnauth”, but the second name is “Singh”.
Mr. Pieters: It looks like “Jainaranjan Singh”, sorry, someone said “Jainarine Singh”? So, have you ever met Jainarine Singh?
Mr. Rodney: No, Sir.
Mr. Pieters: Do you know who Jairnarine Singh is?
Mr. Rodney: Well, I can see that the person is described as an Attorney-at-Law for the Appellant.
Mr. Pieters: No, I appreciate that, but do you have any knowledge which chambers that person worked out of?
Mr. Rodney: No, sir.
Mr. Pieters: To the best of your knowledge did you think that Doodnauth Singh was continuing to push forward your appeal?
Mr. Rodney: When I returned after 1980, I assumed that that would be the case.
Mr. Pieters: When you returned to Guyana in 1989, did you meet with Doodnauth Singh?
Mr. Rodney: I met him briefly.
Mr. Pieters: Did you ask him any questions with respect to the conduct of your appeal?
Mr. Rodney: Well I was aware that Mr. Doodnauth Singh at that time was in a different role, even before I met him and that he would suffer from the disability that he was then the Attorney General and could not be acting on my behalf.
Mr. Pieters: But you were his client.
Mr. Rodney: I did not take that to be the case at the time.
Mr. Pieters: Did you ask him any questions concerning your file and whether your file was transferred to another Attorney?
Mr. Rodney: Well, at that time, my concern was a little different because I had filed an application for the reasons for my conviction and I, up to that stage, had not gotten a response.
Mr. Pieters: Did you file that application through an Attorney?
Mr. Rodney: Yes, I did file that application through an Attorney.
Mr. Pieters: And who was that Attorney through which you filed that application?
Mr. Rodney: It was Mr. Moses Bhagwan who in fact was out of the country at the time I returned so that was another complication. He had emigrated.
Mr. Pieters: Let me ask…
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: I wanted to ask this question, I was going to ask it anyway and since we are there, I wonder if you would permit me to. The document that has been admitted in evidence representing the transcript of your trial in the Magistrates Court, that is the document that we are referring to now…
Mr. Rodney: Yes, Ma’am.
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: …and we are referring to these grounds of appeal filed in February, 1988.
Mr. Rodney: I see 13th February, 1988, that is correct, Ma’am.
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: Prior to the 13th February, 1988, had you seen the transcript that we now have…?
Mr. Rodney: No, Ma’am.
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: …of your trial?
Mr. Rodney: No, Ma’am
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: Were you consulted by regarding the grounds of appeal to be filed on your behalf?
Mr. Rodney: No, Ma’am.
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: Thank you. I asked because if you are objecting and saying part of the record is incorrect, as you have said it is not accurate, then that would, for many Lawyers, properly form the basis of certainly one ground of appeal, that is why I enquired of you, whether you had seen the transcripts.
Mr. Rodney: Oh no, definitely, did not see the transcript.
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: Thank you.
Mr. Pieters: I was going to ask, I will cross it of my list. Do you know what accounted for the delay in having this appeal perfected and filed?
Mr. Rodney: It has …
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: Two different questions, “perfected” and “heard”.
Mr. Pieters: Yes, well let me stop at perfected. Do you know what accounted for the delay in having your appeal perfected?
Mr. Rodney: It has perplexed me over the years. I really do no know.
Mr. Pieters: And none of the Solicitors of Record, I believed they call them that in Guyana as well or… I am sorry, Attorneys of Record in this jurisdiction, none of your attorneys gave you an explanation as to the delay in perfecting your record?
Mr. Rodney: Well, Mr. Moses Bhagwan was abroad at the time…
Mr. Pieters: No, but he is not on record in the case at the Court of Appeal. His name is not on any of the records before the Commission.
Mr. Rodney: I was still trying to take off the list.
Mr. Pieters: So…
Mr. Rodney: I took him off from the list.
Mr. Pieters: Very well, carry on.
Mr. Rodney: Mr. Jainarine Singh, as I indicated, I have never met him before. I greatly appreciated his actions. I think he may have very well taken the action in my own interest, but I never met him before. At the time I did not see the Court records, or see this ground of appeal. Mr. Doodnauth Singh was in a different role.
Mr. Pieters: Well, let me ask you about Doodnauth Singh’s role. You mentioned that you felt yourself in a bind....
Mr. Jairam: Mr. Pieters, I am trying to follow you, you know. We are a Commission of Inquiry; our inquiry is circumscribed by our Terms of Reference. The only small five – and it is not even near to - we are not concerned about (and pardon me for saying so), about Donald. Our remit, the central theme; is the death of Dr. Walter Rodney. Now, if you look at small five “to examine, review and report on earlier investigations and inquiries done on and into the death of Dr. Walter Rodney”. Why are we spending so much time on Donald’s trial and whatever may have happened; his appeal, and his numerous representations? I am trying to follow your thesis, or where you are going. I am afraid, you know, time is not infinite for us. I am sure you have your brief, but you need to – at least for my sake- tell us where you are heading.
Mr. Pieters: You know, I am happy to assist you, Mr. Commissioner.
Mr. Jairam: And I am grateful to hear.
Mr. Pieters: Mr. Rodney filed a witness statement and one of the comments he made is that he was reluctant to appear before the Commission; one of the state basis that he was reluctant is that he was not prepared to accept a pardon because he felt the conviction was unjust. And, that he set out all the issues he had with his appeal, or with the – let me say- efficacy, the expediency of this process. He gave evidence at length in chief, in respect to that process. I think it is only fair to deal with if there were issues apart from Chief Justice, Chang – because I recall reading his evidence in respect to what he had to say about Chief Justice Chang; who was also the DPP, and Norman Jackman. But, in all fairness, for the clarity of the record – and I believe, and I am certainly happy to search my verbatim transcripts because I know that I will find it. The Commission spoke about Donald Rodney’s hearing as one of the materials or one of the set of prior judicial proceedings that it will take a look at. I am happy to search the transcripts and find that. So, I think I am entitled – and I am not trying to run the time out. I am simply trying to get the record as clear as possible with respect to the circumstances that the Witness provided evidence before this Commission. I am simply filling in his gaps from his examination-in-chief.
Mr. Chairman: I just want you to know that Commissioner Jairam did not speak for himself; I think he spoke for all of us. I do not think we know where you are heading, and why, in terms of the Terms of Reference. We are guided by that.
Mr. Pieters: I appreciate that you are guided by the Terms of Reference. You are guided by the practicality of what you have before you. This Witness gave substantive evidence in respect to his appeal.
Mr. Chairman: But, that is no good reason for you to be taking it up. A lot of what has been said before us is really of no relevance not only with what we are dealing now, but before.
Mr. Pieters: Well, Mr. Chairman, I am not going to tell the Commission how to do its job, but respectfully, those paragraphs could have been struck from the witness statement or the evidence could have been disallowed.
Mr. Chairman: Well, that is not how we proceed here. When the time comes, we pay a little or no attention to particular parts of the evidence, if we consider it not relevant. I think Mr. Jairam gave you the opportunity to tell us why it is relevant in terms of the Commission. Not in terms of what somebody said here before, but, in terms of our Terms of Reference.
Mr. Pieters: I am not speaking about what somebody said. I am speaking about a witness, in the witness box.
Mr. Chairman: No, but the only thing that guides you should be the Terms. There is a lot that is said in the witness box that may not be relevant.
Mr. Pieters: Well, I will pull up the Terms of Reference. It seems that I am required to go through it.
Mr. Jairam: May I suggest, Mr. Pieters, that you try to condense your questions? Perhaps we could move along a little faster.
Mr. Pieters: The actual fact is that I am very close to the end of my questioning. My questioning would have already finished, had I not been...
Mr. Chairman: Please continue, please continue...
Mr. Pieters: ...engaged by the Commission. But, I appreciate the engagement with the Commission.
Mr. Chairman: Very well. Please continue.
Mr. Pieters: You have asked me to go to the Terms of Reference, Mr. Chairman?
Mr. Chairman: No, no. you please continue.

Any contemplation of special leave to appeal in Guyana or the Caribbean Courts of Justice.

Mr. Pieters: Let me just go through my questioning, and cross off what I need to cross off. Mr. Rodney, this is my final question to you. Now, I understand your anxiety with respect to still having a criminal record in Guyana, and your apprehension of accepting a pardon. To the best of your knowledge, were any steps taken to reopen your case in any Courts in Guyana, or the Caribbean Court of justice?
Mr. Rodney: As I had indicated before, it is one of the aspects that have perplexed me. It is certainly something that had contributed greatly to my initial reluctance to appear as a convict before this Commission.
Mr. Pieters: Mr. Rodney, what I am asking you; have there been any steps? Your assertion is that you were wrongfully convicted, correct?
Mr. Rodney: Yes, Sir.
Mr. Pieters: I am asking you in 2015, have there been any steps taken to reopen your case here? You can always file an extraordinary application for leave to appeal citing certain special circumstances has that been done... or has it been contemplated, given your view, that you were wrongfully convicted?
Mr. Rodney: The steps that I am aware of, in fact, because of even the perplexion in my mind; it is difficult to outline, but I can mention just as a summary, a repeat that I did take action to have the reasons for my conviction provided to me, so that the appeal could be proceeded with. I have been out of the country, in and out, that has contributed to the time. I know, I have lost contact with Attorneys who were involved. Or, they have lost contact with me. I observed have the actions of Mr. Jairarine Singh - which I appreciate greatly- in keeping the appeal not lapsed…
Mr. Pieters: But you would agree... sorry, you were not finished speaking.
Mr. Rodney: I was going to say I made efforts to make contact with Mr. Doodnauth Singh in his different capacity.
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: I am going to say that – Mr. Rodney, we have that- I think in this last question that Mr. Pieters is asking you, is if you know recent times – say, between last year and this year - you contemplated to take any steps to address what you say is your wrongful conviction? Did you contemplate any such steps?
Mr. Rodney: In recent times, on the basis that there was an ICJ’s report, which was not mentioned in the discourse, here, but you are speaking about recent times. In recent times, in view of the ICJ’s report, I did ask in writing, the Attorney General; whether his office intended to take action on the recommendation in the report that my appeal, should be dealt with.
Mr. Jairam: Mr. Rodney, I remember your Attorney, Mr. Scotland, telling us that he was contemplating taking proceedings here on your behalf, in relation to that conviction. Counsel, is my recollection correct?
Mr. Scotland: Yes, indeed, Mr. Commissioner. I do not want to put words in the Witness’ mouth...
Mr. Jairam: No, it is something you told us from the bar table if I...
Mr. Scotland: From the bar table, yes, Mr. Commissioner.
Mr. Rodney: Honourable Commissioner, I could say that I have been advised, I should approach the Courts again. But, I was seeking to tie up the answer to the very last question, about what has actually been done recently.
Mrs. Samuels-Brown: No, we are asking contemplated, you see... Mr. Pieters said, “Steps taken, or contemplated...” But, I think you missed it.
Mr. Pieters: I will deal with the steps taken.
Mr. Pieters: Mr. Rodney, I appreciate the opportunity of asking you these questions. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Selwyn A. Pieters, B.A. (Toronto), LL.B. (Osgoode), L.E.C. (U.W.I). Lawyer & Notary Public (Ontario). Attorney-at-Law (Republic of Guyana and Republic of Trinidad and Tobago).

Selwyn has appeared at all levels of courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada in Attorney General of Ontario v. Michael J. Fraser, et al., 2011 SCC 20, Ontario Court of Appeal in Freeman-Maloy v. Marsden 267 D.L.R. (4th) 37, 208 O.A.C. 307 (C.A.); Bangoura v. Washington Post (2005) 202 O.A.C. 76, (2005) 17 C.P.C. (6th) 30 (Ont.C.A.), the Federal Court of Appeal in The Honourable Sinclair Stevens v. The Conservative Party of Canada, [2005] F.C.J. No. 1890, 2005 FCA 383. He represented Correctional Manager Mariann Taylor-Baptiste in the ground-breaking competing rights case of Taylor-Baptiste v. Ontario Public Service Employees Union, 2012 CarswellOnt 8965, 2012 HRTO 1393, 2012 C.L.L.C. 230-022 reconsideration denied in 2013 CarswellOnt 1033, 2013 HRTO 180, 2013 C.L.L.C. 230-019 at the HRTO; Civil Rights lawyer Charles Roach in the Oath cases of McAteer, Topey, Dror-Natan v. Canada (Attorney General) 2013 CarswellOnt 13165, 2013 ONSC 5895 (ON S.C.) and Roach et al. v. Canada 2012 CarswellOnt 7799, 2012 ONSC 352 (ON S.C.) which is a constitutional challenge to the oath in the Citizenship Act.

Selwyn has provided representation to persons charged with various criminal offenses including Drugs: Selling and Possessing, Shoplifting, Serious Offences of Violence: Aggravated Assault, Assault with a Weapon and Robbery, Gun Offences, sexual assault, robbery, theft, extortion, HIV/AIDS litigation; fraud, break & enter, attempted murder, murder, regulatory offences under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, professional disciplinary offences, and conspiracy offences.

Selwyn has also been involved in drugs, guns and gang trials including "Project Green Apple", "Project XXX" and "Project Kryptic", "Project Corral" which are some of Canada's largest Criminal Organization prosecutions. Selwyn is currently counsel for an accused in "Project Feline" and Project Revival" drug sting operations. In Project Corral, Selwyn's advocacy resulted in the "gang expert" evidence being discredited and the Criminal Organization charges against his client and others being tossed out by the Court: R. v. Agil, Chambers, Fullerton, Jimale and Brown 2011 CarswellOnt 18099 (Ont. CJ. July 14, 2011, Khawley J.)

Selwyn recently obtained an extraordinary remedy of costs agains the Crown for failure to provide disclosure of police officer memo book notes in R. v. W.(J.), [2013] O.J. No. 2284, 2013 CarswellOnt 6322, 2013 ONCJ 270 (Ont. CJ.).

Selwyn is the successful litigant in the recent racial profiling case involving carding of three Black men: Peel Law Association v. Pieters, 2013 CarswellOnt 7881, 2013 ONCA 396, 228 A.C.W.S. (3d) 204, 116 O.R. (3d) 81, 306 O.A.C. 314, 9 C.C.E.L. (4th) 233, [2013] O.J. No. 2695.

Selwyn has provided crucial legal advise to clients duringhigh risk situations such as gun calls, hostage taking, barricaded persons, mentally disturbed persons, high risk arrests and public order control in situations where there is significant public disorder, lawlessness, personal injury and property damage. Charges of cause disturbance and assault police can be pretextual racial profiling charges: R. v. Roach, 2005 O.J. No. 5278 (Ont. C.J.) (Criminal Law - Causing a Disturbance); R. v. Ramsaroop, 2009 CarswellOnt 5281, 2009 ONCJ 406 (Ont. CJ.); R. v. Taylor, 2010 CarswellOnt 6584, 2010 ONCJ 396, [2010] O.J. No. 3794 (Ont. CJ.)

Selwyn was co-counsel in the world's first-ever sexual HIV transmission murder trial of Johnson Aziga in Hamilton, Ontario. See, for example, R. v. Aziga, 2008 CanLII 39222 (ON S.C.); R. v. Aziga; 2008 CarswellOnt 4300 (ON S.C.) and R. v. Aziga, 2008 CanLII 29780 (ON S.C.)

Selwyn argued on racial profiling includes: R. v. Steele, 2010 ONSC 233 (ON S.C.) and R. v. Egonu, 2007 CanLII 30475 (ON SC) - Driving while black and R. v. Bramwell-Cole [2010] O.J. No. 5838 (ON S.C.) - walking while black.

Selwyn has acted in exclusion cases at the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada: See, Song Dae Ri (Re) 2003 CarswellNat 4527; (2004) 36 Imm. L.R. (3d) 203; Liang (Re) 2002 CarswellNat 4719; 33 Imm. L.R. (3d) 251.

Selwyn has appeared in  Coroners' Inquest including: Coroner's Inquest into the Death of Negus Topey (May 02, 2005, Coroners' Court, Dr. K.A. Acheson) Ruling on Application for Standing; Coroner's Inquest into the Death of Dwight Haughton (Coroners' Court, Dr. Evans) Ruling on Application for Standing; Coroner's Inquest into the Death of Jeffrey Reodica(May 04, 2006, Coroners' Court, Dr. B. Porter) Ruling on Application for Standing

Selwyn also acted as co-counsel with C. Nigel Hughes for the families of three deceased persons killed during a civil demonstration in Linden, Guyana, at the Linden Commission of Inquiry. Selwyn is currently co-counsel with Brian M. Clarke representing the Guyana Trades Union Congress in the Walter Anthony Rodney Commission of Inquiry in Georgetown, Guyana.

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