Georgetown, Guyana – (August 2, 2018) President David Granger, today, vowed to ensure that no efforts are spared by the Government to expose the intellectual authors and the perpetrators of the deadly violence during the period of the “Troubles” as he noted that the truth must be determined to reinforce regard for the sanctity of life, respect for the Constitution and law and the restoration of public trust in those entrusted with upholding the law.
Speaking at the presentation of the Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the deaths of eight miners at Lindo Creek on or around the 21st June 2008, the Head of State said that the ‘Troubles’ will be remembered for a spate of uninvestigated massacres – at Kitty, Lamaha Gardens, Bourda, Buxton-Friendship, Prashad Nagar, Agricola-Eccles, La Bonne Intention, Bagotstown, Black Bush Polder, Lusignan, Lindo Creek and elsewhere.
He therefore noted that the Government is determined to ensure that, as far as humanly possible, the truth about the ‘Troubles’ is uncovered.
“I commit to lifting the veil of dissimulation and deception surrounding the deaths of so many Guyanese citizens. Human safety and respect for the right to life have never been so imperiled as during the first decade of the 21st century – a period to which I have referred as the ‘Troubles’. I stated, in my address to the National Assembly on 13th October 2016: “The ‘Troubles’ will be remembered as the darkest hour of our history. It was a time of the un-investigated assassination of a Minister; of the investigation into the alleged implication of another Minister in the direction of a ‘death squad’; of the alleged implication of yet another Minister in the acquisition of a computer to track the telephone communication and location of adversaries targeted for assassination. It was a time of arbitrary arrests; of disappearances and of torture of young men; of the surge in armed robberies, narco-trafficking and gun-running. During that first, deadly decade, there were 1,317 murders and 7, 865 armed robberies”,” the President said.
President Granger noted that the Constitution, at Article 138 (1), enshrines respect for the right to life, stating “No person shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in the execution of sentence of a court in respect of an offence under the law of Guyana of which he has been convicted.” Guyanese citizens, he therefore said, do not deserve to live in continual fear, under the threat of violent death. Their lives should not be “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”
“Human safety would be imperiled without respect for the law. Citizens would live in continual fear, under the threat of violent death and their lives would be “…solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short…” to quote Thomas Hobbes. Public trust will be enhanced when inquiries could be held into all incidents of criminal violence. Public trust will be enhanced when officers who are responsible for enforcing the law enjoy the confidence of the majority of the people and are themselves not ensnared in allegations of misconduct. Commissions of Inquiry are necessary to ascertain the facts to recommend measures to prevent recurrences of crimes. Inquiries will ensure that those accused of crimes are brought before the courts of law. This Inquiry started the process of searching for the causes and culprits behind some of the most deadly atrocities committed during the ‘Troubles’,” he noted.
Meanwhile, Commissioner of the COI, Justice Donald Trotman, in his brief remarks, said that despite several challenges and constraints, the team tried as best as possible to ensure that they could be faithful to the requirements of the terms of reference, to achieve the objectives and to obey the mandate of the Inquiry.
He also commended President Granger for his efforts to find the truth and bring justice to the families.
“This Inquiry could not have happened if the idea of appointing the Commission and the purpose for doing so had not been conceived and actuated by His Excellency. During the past six months, our commission has searched and travelled to find truth that could lead to justice. In our own time and for the sake of closure, we and the suffering families of the murdered miners may want to forget that gruesome massacre of Lindo Creek, which shocked the conscience of the nation but history and posterity will not erase the dark deeds of those who have conspired to disrespect the dead, to deceive the living and to conceal the truth from the nation. You, Mr President, should feel gratified that you have done the right thing at the right time by authorising the appointment of this Commission,” Justice Trotman said.