…will now act as Deputy Commander
Substantive Crime Chief, Senior Superintendent Wendell Blanhum was removed from his post and will now act as Deputy Commander of Police “A” Division.
While Blanhum was on leave, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Paul Williams has been functioning as interim Crime Chief and will continue to function in that capacity according to acting Police Commissioner, David Ramnarine.
Ramnarine said that Blanhum’s reposting to second in command of ‘A’ Division was not done without precedence. He said that this was done to facilitate the Force’s annual Christmas security programme.
“Senior Superintendent Wendell Blanhum has been reposted and that is to ‘A’ Division as the second in command….I am in command of the force and I have noted that the Assistant Commissioner, law enforcement, Assistant Commissioner of Police Paul Williams is functioning in that capacity and I would like it to continue because for the arrangements we have for the Christmas season and also to note that Mr Blanhum reposting is not without precedence,” Ramnarine said in an invited comment.
However, he refused to comment further when asked whether the demotion was in keeping with the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry (COI) into the alleged plot to assassinate President David Granger.
Following the allegation, President Granger ordered the CoI to investigate the Police Investigation of the allegation and to also make recommendations for flaws.
Retired Assistant Police Commissioner, Paul Slowe, conducted the CoI and handed the report to President Granger at the end of August.
When Crime Chief took to the stand, before the CoI, it was a clash between Slowe and Blanhum. Blanhum was the first person to receive information of the alleged plot and was instructed, by Ramnarine, to personally oversee the investigation.
The commission found that he failed to properly supervise the investigation and allegedly lied, while under oath, when he said that it was his decision to send Nizam on bail and that he should be disciplined for all those infractions.
“He was insubordinate when he took a rude, argumentative and aggressive posture at the Commission of Inquiry. He should be disciplined for this. His lack of supervision of this important investigation, his utterances, disrespect and arrogance displayed before the Commission shows that he is incapable of functioning as the crime chief, the lead investigator and manager of the major investigating unit of the Guyana Police Force. Blanhum should be replaced as Crime Chief and reassigned in order to gain command experience,” Slowe recommended.
HIGH-PROFILE CRIME CASES
Since taking up the post as Crime Chief, in May of 2015, Blanhum reopened several high-profile cases such as the execution of fashion designer, Trevor Rose; the 1993 murder case of Monica Reece and the robbery/murder of Sheema Mangar.
Mashramani Costume Designer and Events Coordinator, Trevor Rose was gunned down on January 26, 2014 while sitting in the back seat of a Toyota 212 motorcar on the Eccles Public Road, East Bank Demerara (EBD).
Former Demerara Bank employee, Sheema Mangar, who was 20 years old at the time, was the victim of a brutal robbery sometime after 18:00hrs on September 10, 2010 as she waited for transportation on North Road. She chased the robber who had snatched her cell phone and who jumped into the car that hit her down and dragged her from outside Bedford Methodist Church, at Camp Street and North Road, to the intersection of Camp and Church Streets. She died hours later at St Joseph Mercy Hospital.
The body of the 23-year-old woman, a security guard, was dumped from a speeding pickup in the vicinity of the Geddes Grant building (now Courts) on Main Street, Georgetown, on April 9, 1993. She was later identified as Monica Reece. It was a Good Friday night that the murder took place.
Blanhum and a team of detectives were able to crack the murder case of Babita Sarjou in May of 2016.