… ahead of public hearings
A team led by Retired Judge Donald Trotman plans to undertake a number of site visits next week as part of the recently announced Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of eight miners, which occurred at Lindo Creek in June 2008.
Trotman, who was sworn in as the sole Commissioner on Wednesday, has been given a timeline of April to conclude the CoI. He told Kaieteur News that the logistics for the site visits are still being finalised; hence, he could not divulge further information, which could also mean a trip to the wooded Lindo Creek, Upper Berbice area where the burnt remains of the miners were discovered.
Trotman stated that the CoI will be inviting persons to make written submissions, with witnesses taking the stand as early as February 12.
The death of the miners sent shockwaves throughout Guyana during a period when multiple murders occurred.
DNA tests carried out on the remains confirmed the identity of the miners as Dax Arokium, Cedric Arokium, Compton Speirs, Horace Drakes, Clifton Wong, Lancelot Lee, Bonny Harry and Nigel Torres.
It is the view of the coalition administration that the period of the murders between 2000 and 2010 “must be investigated so as to provide answers to grieving families, whose quest for justice has not been realised, despite the number of years that have passed.
The Lindo Creek CoI is the first of many investigations which is likely to be undertaken by the government. The opposition, People’s Progressive Party (PPP), which was in government during the crime wave period, has called for a single, comprehensive CoI as opposed to separate investigations.
Initially, the PPP committed to participating in the CoI, promising to even testify at the hearings.
With the establishment of this first CoI, the PPP is now wavering its support, citing the potential conflict of interest, as Justice Trotman is the father of Raphael Trotman, the Minister of Natural Resources and Leader of the coalition partner, Alliance For Change (AFC).
Justice Trotman said that anyone that doubts the quality of work which will be produced is more than welcome to check his credentials, which show substantial experience in Guyana and the Caribbean region.
Minister of State, Joseph Harmon said that he is confident that the CoI 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,” Harmon said.
Referring to the Terms of Reference, the State Minister said that the Commissioner has been directed to investigate all matters in relation to the deaths of the eight miners. 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.
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