Retired Judge, Donald Trotman was yesterday sworn in as a Commissioner to investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths of eight miners, which occurred at Lindo Creek in June 2008.
Trotman took the oath at the Ministry of the Presidency before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan and Minister of State, Joseph Harmon.
Minister Harmon noted that the lone commissioner was sworn in accordance with Section Two of the Commission of Inquiry Act, Chapter 19:03. He also stated that the Commission of Inquiry, (CoI) has been appointed under the direction of the President.
“The Commission of Inquiry will make recommendations on actions to be taken against all persons and/or organisations that are deemed responsible for the deaths of those persons. We, as a Government, feel that such an inquiry is necessary to determine precisely what happened to our citizens at Lindo Creek. Justice Trotman is a distinguished retired judge.
I am confident that the Inquiry would be conducted at the highest professional level. I urge all persons who may have information to cooperate with the Commission. The Government will provide the resources and will do everything possible to support the work of the Commission,” he said.
Referring to the Terms of Reference (ToRs), the State Minister said that the Commissioner has been directed to investigate all matters in relation to the deaths of the eight miners. He said that it is the Government’s responsibility to provide answers to grieving families, whose quest for justice has not been realised, despite the number of years that have passed.
Minister Harmon added that the Commission has been given wide scope to conduct their work and it is expected to carry out its functions in an independent, fair and impartial manner.
Justice Trotman, in a brief address to the media, said that he remains committed to completing the task in a highly professional manner.
“To find the truth is sometimes difficult. Knowing the truth in circumstances such as this is of the greatest importance. In a wider sense, we cannot be really free – both the families and as a nation – unless we know the truth. We want to do what is right and do it to the best of our ability and according to the morals of our conscience. The main objective of this inquiry is to find the truth, to bring healing and closure to the families, relatives and all those who require justice to be done in this particular instance, and to bring healing and closure to the nation as a whole,” he said.
The Commission will commence work today and has three months to complete same. However, if a request is made to the Head of State for an extension to the timeline, this could be granted, depending on the reason(s) given.
Meanwhile President Granger indicated that his administration remains committed to ensuring that the killings during that period were properly investigated. He noted that the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry (COI) into the Lindo Creek massacre, which claimed the lives of eight miners in 2008, will lead to the unravelling of the criminal network and exposure of operatives, who were responsible for the reign of terror, during the most deadly decade in Guyana’s history, while also ensuring that justice is served for the affected families.
The Head of State said that the Government is committed to finding the perpetrators and intellectual authors of the killings and ensuring that justice is served.
“This is really a massacre of the innocents and we feel that the way in which the investigation was handled indicated that there was a high level of collusion by the Government of the day. We feel that this will be a pivotal investigation, which will unravel the criminal network, which was behind the killings in what is now called the ‘Jagdeo era’, during the ‘troubles.’
“When we see the report of this Commission of Inquiry, it will lead to other Commissions. You know [there was the death of a former Minister]; it is really beyond belief that a President of a country could have one of his Cabinet Ministers assassinated and not even hold an inquest or an inquiry,” the President said.
He said that Guyana witnessed its most intense sustained wave of criminal violence since Independence in that era. There were 1,431 murders during that period.
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