The misplaced focus of the Lindo Creek inquiry

first_imgDear Editor,The establishment of President Granger’s most recent Commission of Inquiry (CoI) raises troubling issues. On the occasion of his swearing in before Minister Harmon or Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan or both Minister Harmon and the Chief Magistrate – Justice Trotman is reported in the media as saying that he was committed to upholding the President’s promise of “probing the truthfulness of things.” (Incidentally, as a judicial officer, the Chief Magistrate has no place at Minister Harmon’s office).However, it is in this commitment by Justice Trotman to upholding the President’s promise where lies the germ that many perceive will infect the neutrality and impartiality of the inquiry. Justice Trotman’s commitment must undoubtedly be to his oath, which he has seemingly cast aside. Even though he has stressed the independence, impartiality, and integrity of the Commission, serious doubt is raised about his emphasis when consideration is given to further statements made by Justice Trotman, which, when juxtaposed to statements made by President Granger significantly erodes Justice Trotman’s assurances of independence, integrity and impartiality. The learned Judge reportedly told the media that the Inquiry has two objectives:1. To find the truth.There could be no issue with this objective.2. To bring healing and closure to the families, relatives and friends and all who require justice to be done in this particular instance.Though, well knowing the inanity that emerges from the chambers of the Attorney General and other Government sources, I would nevertheless be shocked if Justice Trotman’s Terms of Reference as a sole Commissioner, charges him with the responsibility to bring closure and healing to the families, relatives and friends of those who perished at Lindo Creek. In this frame of mind, Justice Trotman has begun a journey, heading in the wrong direction. He has set himself an objective and will apparently be working towards it.Quite coincidentally, President Granger on the other hand, is reported in the press as telegraphing his understanding of the outcome of the Trotman Commission of Inquiry, when he reportedly said: “ the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry 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.”It is not clear whether Justice Trotman is parroting President Granger or vice versa, but what is clear is that there is a meeting of these two distinguished minds in relation to their predictions of the outcomes of the Inquiry and note must be taken of the fact that both President Granger and Justice Trotman have not qualified their predictions by the use of words such as “ likely” or “possible”. Their predictions of the outcomes of the Inquiry have been expressed with great clarity and certainty.These statements throw up many questions. Is Justice Trotman also committed to unravelling some criminal network? We know that Justice Trotman has predicted closure and healing for families and friends of the Lindo Creek victims as an objective of his inquiry which President Granger has declared will ensure justice for those families and friends. But President Granger has not yet heard the evidence to be presented to the CoI. How does he know that there will be an unravelling of any kind? How does President Granger and Justice Trotman know in advance that justice will be served to the families, relatives and friends of the Lindo Creek victims? It is not unreasonable, in the context of all the public comments made by both President Granger and Justice Trotman, to assume that Justice Trotman may just also be committed to meeting the expectations of President Granger.In recent comments to the press about criticisms that were being made about the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry, Justice Trotman, who has been appointed a sole Commissioner reportedly said: “we are not fazed by it. We will press on.”  Who is Justice Trotman, referring to, when he speaks of “we”? Could it be that unthinkingly, Justice Trotman was referring to himself and President Granger?Perception is sometimes reality.Sincerely,Selwyn Persaudlast_img read more