Location: Werk-en-Rust, Georgetown
Classification: Commemorative Monument
Period/ Year Built: 2010
Dr Walter Rodney; a pioneering social advocate who became a voice for the under-represented and the disenfranchised was intellectually gifted. In 1960, after graduating first in his class at queen’s college, he proceeds to the university of the West Indies in Jamaica. At the age of 24, he attended the school of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London completing his PHD with honours.
Dr. Walter Rodney; returned to Guyana in 1974 from Tanzania took up an appointment as a professor of History at the University of Guyana; however, his offer was rescinded so he then proceeds to join a political group (Working People Alliance). He was widely seen as the (WPA) leader between the year 1974 and the early 1980’s, he was instrumental in the growing resistance against the People National Congress (PNC) dictatorship.
Dr. Rodney, one of the five sons of Edward and Pauline Rodney was born March 23, 1942 and was killed on June 30, 1980. Dr. Rodney was killed instantly when an explosion occurred in a Mazda Capella Motorcar who was driven by his brother Donald Rodney in which he was a passenger; his brother who was severely injured. Investigations later revealed that Dr. Rodney was killed by way of a remote-controlled explosive device.
Donald Rodney shared that he had visited the home of Military Officer, Gregory Smith who provided him with a two radio and instructions on how to use it. It was further indicated that he and his brothers were following smith’s instructions for testing when it exploded.
Dr. Rodney body was being identified on June 14,1980 and an autopsy was being carried out. However, a four- hour autopsy was carried out separately by two British Experts and it was later agreed that Walter Rodney’s death was due to hemorrhage, shock and multiple other injuries. Dr. Rodney’s body was released to his family through Attorney-at- law Doodnauth on June 22,1980 and a memorial service was being held at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, hence a memorial gathering was also scheduled and approved for the Merriman’s Mall. Permission for this event was later being rescinded by the government and Dr. Rodney was buried on June 23, 1980 at La Repentir Cemetery.
In 2014, Donald Ramotar commissioned an inquiry into the death of Dr. Rodney, however, this was cut short in 2015 after the APNU (A partnership for National Unity) assumed government. The findings indicated that the Guyana Government in the office at that time, and its army and police branches were complict in the assassination of Dr. Walter Rodney.
On June 12, 2021- the eve of the 41st death anniversary of Dr. Rodney the Honourable Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs outlined the government plans to honour the work and life of Dr. Rodney. Some of these measures include correcting the record relating to his employment status and cause of death. Additionally, his published work was made available and with ease of access. The repository- National Archives was renamed in Dr. Rodney honour, and both his tomb and the memorial declared as National Monuments under the National Trust of Guyana. The tomb where Dr. Rodney remains are interred is surrounded by a concrete spindle fence and a headstone with information about his life. To provide more details, a sign was being installed.