AFC position on International Tribunal
There has been much talk about the AFC’s position on making an international inquiry a precondition of any investigation and or inquiry into the events of July 18 2012 and that this position is one of grandstanding by the party and/or trying to outdo APNU in Linden.
In the interest of clarity I seek to set out the position of the AFC.
There are two aspects to the any inquiry/ investigation into the events of July 18th 2012.
First and foremost, a credible ,uncompromised, independent forensic investigation of the homicides.
It is a fact that the further away from an incident one goes the more likely the chances are that the available evidence will be compromised.
There is no suggestion that anybody other than the Guyana Police Force had fired weapons on Wednesday last so there can be no dispute about who fired.
The ballistic evidence which would be available on the spent shell, warheads and other fragments recovered from the bodies of the dead and wounded would indicate who fired the weapons which resulted in the death or injury to the victim. A most critical piece of evidence.
The police records should indicate the identity of police officers were in possession of the weapons which fired bullets which killed and wounded the victims .Another critical piece of evidence.
This would isolate the principal suspects.
The preservation of critical evidence recovered from the bodies of wounded prior to death and its isolation from possible contamination is of critical importance.
We have no doubt that the weapons used on Wednesday would have had to have been lodged after the day’s escape and hands should have been swabbed to confirm who fired weapons on the day.
If the ballistic evidence has been handed over to the police in Linden under the Command of the one of the principal suspects then the integrity of the evidence was in serious jeopardy.
In other words the prime suspects would have been handed the evidence which incriminated them in the crime, to keep and preserve for a trial which could result in their conviction.
In local terms we asking the cat to watch the milk and expect it to be there when we are ready for it.
It is also accepted scientific fact that the closer the recording of the statements of eye witnesses to an event the more likely the accuracy of their recollections
Attempting to take statements from eyewitnesses after they have discussed the incident with other persons who were present, is more likely to influence the accuracy of their recollection.
Four years after international assistance was offered and refused in Lindo creek, we learnt last week of the police handing over the remains to the families of the deceased without any conclusion to the investigation.
It is interesting that the same officer who headed the police party in the Lindo creek incident was in command of the policemen last Wednesday.
If the services of international forensic experts were immediately engaged then the chances of a credible investigation would have been increased.
Waiting until the victims have been buried or worse after the 2nd August 2012 to conduct any form of international forensic investigations is of marginal value.
It is also an insult to the cries for justice by the families of the victims of the shooting
The second aspect of our request for an international inquiry will address the circumstances which led up to, resulted in the deaths of the Lindeners and the subsequent burning of property.
One is afforded the luxury of a little more time on this aspect.
Why the request for a fully international commission of Inquiry.
Guyana is a small community and the chances of finding Commissioners who will not be the subject of suspicions from one side or the other before the Commission is constituted are slim. The degrees of separation in Guyana are too close.
The possibility of protracted arguments over the eligibility of persons to sit on the Commission is real and significant. This places the acceptance of the results of any such commission in jeopardy long before the inquiry even begins.
A Commission consisting only of international commissioners under the auspices of a credible international body mitigates the arguments about local bias and interest in the outcome of the investigation.
Surely the purpose of whatever steps we as Guyanese take on this matter must be driven by our desire for justice for the victims.
Permit me to leave you with the words of leader of the most powerful and stable democracy in the world at the time
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable” –John F Kennedy. President of the United States of America.