Police Public Relations and Press Officer (PRO), Jairam Ramlakhan has sought to dispel assertions within the public domain that Crime Chief, Wendell Blanhum has been sent on indefinite leave based on information surfacing from the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the alleged plot to assassinate the President.
Ramlakhan explained to INews that Blanhum has been slated for annual leave since July but was unable to proceed due to his responsibilities at work. However, on Monday last he advanced on his leave on his own free will, and is expected to re-commence his duties in December.
Furthermore, the Police PRO asserted that the Crime Chief’s post will be occupied temporarily by Police “F” Division Commander, Rabindranauth Budhram.
Deputy “B” Division Commander, Edmond Cooper will now serve as the Commander of “F” Division for the same period.
On March 29, 2017, Andriff Gillard reported to the Police that his friend and neighbour, businessman Nizam Khan, offered him $7 million to assassinate the President.
He said the offer was made during a conversation between Khan and himself after he approached Khan to borrow $6 million to purchase a property.
A CoI into the matter was subsequently ordered by President David Granger after the investigation into the allegation appeared to be at a standstill.
Testimonies were laid bare at the CoI by Senior Officers of the Force including Blanhum who had requested, via a letter, to return to the CoI to respond to statements made by Acting Police Commissioner David Ramnarine.
When Ramnarine, took the stand on July 28 he told the CoI that Blanhum indicated he placed Nizam Khan on bail following a briefing on the morning of March 30 at around 05:30hrs.
He also told that inquiry that he later learnt that Blanhum misled him and that it was substantive Police Commissioner, Seelall Persaud, who ordered the release.
In his letter, Blanhum, among other concerns, denied briefing Ramnarine on the said date and time, as well as giving the instructions to grant station bail to the accused.
He noted that he found it appalling that despite Inspector Prem Narine, ASP Mitchell Caesar and Commissioner Persaud testifying otherwise, Ramnarine would testify otherwise.
“I would therefore respectfully request that I be given an opportunity to be recalled to give sworn evidence before the Commission of Inquiry to address this issue,” Blanhum concluded.
Blanhum’s request to return however, was denied by CoI Commissioner Paul Slowe.
While the Guyana Police Force (GPF) was being placed under the microscope during the CoI set up to probe the assassination plot allegations, a letter was dispatched to the PSC, from the President’s office instructing the body to put a hold on a list of promotions for senior Police Officers. Most of the officers who appeared before the CoI were on the list.
Moreover, after the final report of the COI was handed over to Government, the Head of State indicated that it had exposed serious deficiencies and weaknesses in the Guyana Police Force (GPF), which he said will have to be corrected.
He noted that while Cabinet had not deliberated on the contents of the report as yet, its findings point to some critical areas, which will need to be addressed as part of security sector reform.
“[The Commission] made some very strong recommendations. Even persons who have been following the day-to-day reports would have realised that there has been a significant lapse in professionalism at the high levels of the Guyana Police Force, so these are matters of concern” President Granger had said. (Ramona Luthi)