A “LACK OF INK” has stalled handing over of the Commission of Inquiry Report into the demise of Dr Walter Rodney, the Ministry of the Presidency said on Monday evening.The report was due to be handed over earlier in the day, but Attorney General Basil Williams said he was told by Commission Chairman Sir Richard Cheltenham that he did not have enough ink.
“I didn’t understand what he meant [when he said that], because when they arrived, I sought to ensure that they were properly ensconced and that they had all the relevant facilities. In fact, I had handed over the arrangements to Mr. [Hugh] Denbow, [the Administrator] for him to work with them. So I was actually surprised that Sir Richard was saying that.” Williams declared.
The Report was due to be presented to President David Granger at noon, and the President was already in place to receive the report. The Attorney General said he found this totally unacceptable for any sitting President to be treated this way, especially given that President Granger had, in past months, been more than accommodating in granting time extensions requested.
“I am deeply concerned. I am even more concerned that this is a Presidential Inquiry, and that the President has been asked for extensions of time and every time the President agreed. It is not an appropriate way to deal with the President of a country, and I think the time has come for us to put a definitive end to this entire Commission of Inquiry…. The President has bent over backwards on many occasions. It is unfair to the President and the people of Guyana to continue it…. I am fed up of the entire situation,” the Attorney General disclosed.
Almost $500 million have been spent over a period of two years to conduct the Inquiry.
Sir Richard had requested that the handing over be rescheduled to a time later in the day, but Minister Williams had indicated that this arrangement seemed uncertain.
“Sir Richard was asking for any time between 16:00hrs and 18:00hrs this evening, which again sounded very iffy, and I had to come to Parliament,” he said.
With regard to outstanding payments to the Commissioners, Finance Minister Winston Jordan had sought to receive copies of the contracts that had been entered into by the previous administration, but it was revealed that those contracts were never signed.
“As you know, the cost of this Commission is almost half a billion dollars…. The things that we wanted from Sir Richard included a copy of the contract that he had entered into, and I understand from Sir Richard that they hadn’t any signed contract.
“Because of that, the Minister of Finance is insisting that he (be) given a contract so that (he) would be able to pay on the basis of such a contract,” Minister Williams said.