Invited guestsHe acknowledged Liberia’s role in the fight for freedom for South Africa and extended President Jacob Zuma’s warm greetings to the Government and people of Liberia.The Ambassador also extended appreciation to the Government of Liberia for the ongoing rebuilding process that has tackled roads and reconstruction of the Mount Coffee Dam.On behalf of the Liberian government, Deputy Foreign Minister Elias Shoniyin said the Liberia-South Africa bilateral relation has been fruitful over the years, especially with the introduction of visa in Liberia which he said relieved people of hardships when they want to travel to South Africa.Mr. Shoniyin also acknowledged South Africa’s role in the area of health and expressed his wish for such to continue as Liberia strives towards rebuilding its health sector.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Amb. Moodley giving his keynote addressSouth African Ambassador to Liberia Vanapalan Punjanathan Moodley says his country’s progress after 23 years as an independent nation is attributed to her philosophy of togetherness.Making the statement in his keynote speech during the celebration of South Africa’s National Day on April 27, 2017, Ambassador Moodley said since the country gained independence in 1994 through efforts exerted by President Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress (ANC), the country has held together without racial discrimination, sexism, religious discrimination, and other social vices.South Africa got its independence in 1994 following years of racial discrimination against which ANC stalwarts Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo and African countries, including Liberia, and their international friends, fought for decades. Mandela spent 27 years in prison and later became the country’s first black President, serving one term.The racial discrimination, known as Apartheid, was perpetrated by the white minority. It met its end with the help of the seventh and last President of the regime, Fredrick W. de Klerk, who reigned from 1989 to 1994.Ambassador Moodley said freedom does not come automatically, but takes the sacrifice of a few to bring a great change to many, and recalled the roles of Mandela and the ANC leader Oliver Tambo and said it was through these great men that South Africa is what it is today.Quoting former President Mandela, Amb. Moodley said, “We understand it is said that there is no easy road to freedom. We know it well that none of us acting alone can achieve success. We must therefore act together as a united people for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world. Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all. Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one another….”The Ambassador said: “The essence of democracy is to have participation of all citizens, equal freedom and economic benefit and freedom for all and this has made South Africa to better up itself.”However, he admitted that despite this trend of democratic achievement, land ownership in South Africa is still a serious challenge.
Lindo Creek CoIThe Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the June 2008 massacre at Lindo Creek heard that a then 15-year-old member of the notorious Rondell “Fine Man” Rawlins gang told Police investigators that the gang was responsible for murdering the eight men at their mining camp.When Special Superintendent of Police Trevor Reid took to the stand on Tuesday, he testified that he was the one who took the caution statement from then 15-year-old gang member, Dwayne ‘Small Friend” Williams. Despite failing to produce the original statement to the CoI, Reid was allowed to read a photocopy after positively identifying it.Special Superintendent of Police, Trevor Reid reading Dwayne Williams’ statementWilliams, who is now 25 years old and currently on remand for several murders, in July 2008 told investigators that they (the gang) had escaped the Police in the Ituni area where Otis “Mud Up” Fifee was killed.The statement related that after escaping, they walked along the creek after which they made a raft to cross the Berbice River. After crossing, the gang consisting of Williams, Cecil “Magic” Ramcharran, Robin “Chung Boy” Chung and leader Rondel Rawlins stumbled upon the Arokium’s mining camp at Lindo Creek where they encountered miners Cecil Arokium, Dax Arokium, Compton Speirs, Horace Drakes, Clifton Wong, Lancelot Lee, Bonny Harry and Nigel Torres.“We hold on pon them (the eight miners) and Magic tie them up. We cook a chowmein and we stay deh till next morning. The morning time we mek tea and give them (the miners) to drink, the nighttime rain bin falling. We bin fuh beat out the said night, but we didn’t worry,” the statement said.“When night done, the next day then night come back again, rain start falling again. About 12 o’clock time me bin sleeping me hear shots start buss. When me look me see them man (the miners) what them tie up, them shoot up them man…them pull down them blue tarpaulin from one ah dem camp and “Magic” throw gasoline pon them and light them afire,” Williams related to the Police.Williams’ statement also revealed that following the incident at Lindo Creek, the gang left the site and whilst walking they encountered another Joint Services Checkpoint which they eluded. He further related that the following night Chung, Rawlins and Ramcharran left him behind after which he was captured while hitching a ride out of the Lindo Creek area.“Me keep on walking all the time and me see one grader with a trailer, me ask the man fuh give me a drop, he give me and when we a come a truck stick up the road, the grader man give them a pull up. The grader man go way and the truck man give me one drop out. The man stop by one shop and buy channa and drink then another man come over and ask what this fine man does do with you then he say ‘nobody don’t move Police in plain clothes.’ The Police hold on pon me, me story done deh, them put me in a cell and night time the soldier come and bring me this side (Georgetown CID Headquarters),” Reid testified.Lieutenant Colonel Lloyd Souvenir during his testimonyAlso during his testimony, Reid told the Commission that based on his investigative experience, he felt that the investigation by the Office for Professional Responsibility was incomplete and needed much more work to be done.Reid also testified that he never visited the Lindo Creek area and was also tasked with compiling the case file to be forwarded to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Additionally, he further related that a post-mortem examination was conducted on the bodies of the eight men by a Jamaican Pathologist at the Georgetown Public Hospital but never saw the report.Encounter with “Chung Boy” and “Magic”Lieutenant Colonel Lloyd Souvenir also testified that he was a part of the Joint Services Taskforce stationed at Kwakwani and on June 16, 2008, they engaged the men in the Goat Farm area.“During the evening we were doing foot patrol in the area just off the trail and we saw three armed men. We concealed ourselves and called on them to halt because this is the Joint Services the men fired at us, we returned fire. One of the men run away and keep firing at us but because of the angle he run from us it was difficult to keep engaging him and we went forward to the other two. They were motionless on the ground we disarmed them… we loaded the men onto the vehicle, we restocked the ammunition of the remaining ranks and we headed to Kwakwani,” he testified.After disarming the men, they were taken from the site to Kawkwani where they were identified at “Chung Boy” and “Magic”. They also found a series of ammunition and two AK47s belonging to the Guyana Defence Force, among other items, which included credit cards and frequent flyer cards belonging to then assassinated Agriculture Minister Satyadeo Saw.The items were found in haversacks the men were carrying.Additionally, Souvenir said he would have accompanied a team of officers that included then head of OPR, Heeralall Makanlall, to the Lindo Creek site. He said when they got there, the camp was destroyed with everything scattered.“There was a group of human bones with flesh falling off. It was nauseating and I started to throw up and went into a corner and allowed the Police to do their investigation,” Souvenir said.Sometime between June 12, 2008 and June 24, 2008, miners Cecil Arokium, Dax Arokium, Compton Speirs, Horace Drakes, Clifton Wong, Lancelot Lee, Bonny Harry and Nigel Torres were shot and killed, and their bodies burnt at the Upper Berbice River mining camp, which was being operated by Leonard Arokium.The CoI was established to inquire into the circumstances surrounding the killings of eight miners, and to report its findings and recommendations to President David Granger.