…as 97 cops get promotion
The Guyana Police Force (GPF) promoted hundreds of its ranks on Sunday. Of the bunch that was promoted, eight of its senior officers were awarded the position of Commissioner of Police.
Those were Senior Superintendent Calvin Brutus, Senior Superintendent Fizal Karimbaksh, Senior Superintendent Ravindranauth Budhram, Senior Superintendent Mahendra Sewnarine, Senior Superintendent Errol Watts, Senior Superintendent Khali Pareshram, Senior Superintendent Kurleigh Simon, and Senior Superintendent Wendell Blanhum.
Blanhum is acting Crime Chief; Sewnarine is Divisional Commander for Region Three, Pareshram is Commander for Regional Division 4 C, and Simon is Commander of Region Five.
Brutus, on the other hand, is the acting Deputy Commissioner of Police with responsibility for Administration while Karimbaksh is the head of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU).
Watts, who was recently replaced as Regional Commander for Region Three by Sewnarine, now heads the Special Branch, while Budhram is the acting Deputy Commissioner with responsibility for Operations.
Of the 97 senior Police officers promoted for this year, 11 were promoted to the rank of Senior Superintendent and 21 were promoted to Superintendent.
Among those promoted to Senior Superintendent are Traffic Chief Ramesh Ashram, Commanders Shivpersaud Bacchus, Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam); Boodnarine Persaud, Region Six (East Berbice -Corentyne); Dion Moore, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni); and Hugh Winter, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice)
Commissioner of Police (ag) Clifton Hicken made the announcement at the Route March ceremony held at Eve Leary in Georgetown to mark the Force’s 183rd anniversary that over 300 junior ranks were also promoted.
“This is the moment you have been waiting for and so with effect from today [Sunday], 253 officers and inspectors were promoted and 340 ranks were also promoted,” he said.
This is the first time in two years that the Police had any promotions. In December 2020, Brutus through his lawyer, CV Satram moved to the High Court to challenge the Police 2020 promotions by the PSC.
The case sought to challenge the promotion of Police officers who he had said had disciplinary matters pending against them.
Among other things, Brutus contended that he was bypassed for promotion to the rank of Assistant Commissioner even though he was recommended for promotion by the Top Cop and due to frivolous allegations of indiscipline against him for which he has not been called upon to defend.
In an affidavit, Brutus outlined that his colleagues are facing disciplinary and/or criminal investigations for dereliction of duty, facilitation of unlawful activities, perverting the course of justice, and corruption by a public officer, among other offences.
However, Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George dismissed the case. In her ruling, she noted that there is nothing unlawful in the Police Service Commission considering pending disciplinary matters as a bar to Police promotions.
Following the case, President Dr Irfaan Ali suspended the entire PSC on June 16, 2021, but the life of the Commission came to an end in August 2021. In May this year, the new Commission was fully constituted.
The Police’s promotion list was not the only promotion that caused an uproar within the last two years. Acting Commissioner of Police, Clifton Hicken took over the helm of the Guyana Police Force in March after President Ali appointed him as acting Police Commissioner after his predecessor, Nigel Hoppie, who was also acting as Top Cop, proceeded on pre-retirement leave.
However, his appointment did not go down well with the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), since they said the appointment was illegal and unconstitutional, and that they were going to challenge the appointment.
In a statement, they said Article 211 (1) of the Constitution requires meaningful consultation with the Opposition Leader and Chairperson of the Police Service Commission (PSC).
So, the Government reached out to Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton to have consultations with him, but he was a no show.
The Government, through Governance and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Gail Teixeira, had written to Norton in a letter dated June 29, inviting him to send his written submissions to President Ali on Hicken’s appointment.
However, on Friday, Norton moved to court seeking to quash the appointment of the PSC.
In his Fixed Date Application (FDA), Norton had also contended that Hicken’s appointment was unilateral and not in keeping with Article 211 of the Constitution. In the letter to Norton, Teixeira had explained why Norton was not initially consulted on Hickens’s appointment. Teixeira noted that at the time Hicken was appointed on March 30 to fill the position left by the retiring Police Commissioner Nigel Hoppie, there was no Opposition Leader.