Skip to main content

Guyana: Rodney family calls for murder report

Information implicates ex-PM in assassination

THE family of Guyanese Marxist historian Walter Rodney have demanded the release of a report implicating a former prime minister in his 1980 assassination.

His daughter Asha Rodney and supporters of the family’s fight for justice urged the People’s National Congress (PNC) government on Saturday to release the long-awaited report.

The call came after several Guyanese media outlets reported that the commission of inquiry established in 2014 by former president Donald Ramotar had confirmed long-held suspicions that former PNC prime minister Forbes Burnham had ordered Mr Rodney’s murder.

President David Granger’s government was criticised for halting the commission’s work last November, even though it had requested two more weeks to interview important witnesses.

“This is not the end. The report needs to be read and reviewed because justice still needs to be done,” Ms Rodney said.

“This is a very, very important inquiry. There is a lot more to be done with these findings.”

Walter Rodney was born under British colonial rule in 1942 and studied at the University of the West Indies and the School of Oriental and African Studies (Soas) in London.

He lectured in Tanzania at the University of Dar es Salaam — a hotbed of anti-imperialist scholarship — from 1966 to 1967 and authored How Europe Underdeveloped Africa and other important works on colonialism.

In 1974, he returned to Guyana and founded the Working People’s Alliance party.

Mr Rodney was killed on June 13 1980 by a bomb hidden in a handheld two-way radio.

His brother Donald, who was injured in the blast and later convicted of his own brother’s murder, said Guyana Defence Force Sergeant Gregory Smith had given him the booby-trapped radio.

Sgt Smith fled to French Guiana, where he later died.

Mr Granger defeated People’s Progressive Party incumbent Mr Ramotar in May last year by less than 5,000 votes amid allegations of ballot-rigging.

He promptly awarded offshore exploration drilling rights in the western Essequibo province to Exxon-Mobil, sparking a diplomatic row with neighbouring Venezuela, which also claims the region.


We're a reader-owned co-operative, which means you can become part of the paper too by buying shares in the People’s Press Printing Society.

Become a supporter

Fighting fund

You've Raised:£ 5,206
We need:£ 12,974
21 Days remaining
Donate today