Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Arson then and now

Arson then and now

Posted By Stabroek staff On July 26, 2009 @ 5:04 am In Letters | 11 Comments

Dear Editor,
The media reports of the gruesome and barbarous treatment meted out to Mr Troy Small who, it seems, had come under suspicion of burning down the Ministry of Health, have prompted me to make the following observation.

In the early hours of the morning of July 11, 1979, I, along with a number of other WPA leaders and associates, including Walter Rodney, Omawale, and Kwame Apata, were arrested on suspicion of burning down the Office of the General Secretary of the PNC and Ministry of National Development. Over the next day or two, the list of those arrested expanded to include Bonita Harris, Karen DeSouza, Maurice Odle and Davo Nandlall. That morning I was taken to Eve Leary and held in the Operations Room of the Crime Prevention Unit, popularly known as the Death Squad. I remained there for 3 days and was interrogated on two occasions. Apart from the discomfort of being handcuffed behind my back for a night, I suffered no physical abuse. The other comrades who were held at other police stations around the country experienced no physical abuse. Three days later, in response to writs of habeas corpus, we were placed before the Magistrate’s Court where Walter, Omawale and I were charged with arson and released on bail.

Mr Troy Small’s misfortune is that he came under suspicion of having committed the crime of arson not in the dark night of dictatorship but in the bright noon of democracy.
Yours faithfully,
Rupert Roopnaraine
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