Letter: Correcting historical and moral wrongs done to Clifton Hicken

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Acting Top Cop, Clifton Hicken

Dear Editor,

Paul Slowe served as APNU+AFC’s campaign security advisor for the 2015 elections, and was the chairman of a ludicrous Commission of Inquiry into a possible ‘assassination plot’ against (then) President Granger. There were no objections to this, but when Granger nominated Slowe for Chairmanship of the Police Service Commission(PSC), the assessment by Bharrat Jagdeo was blunt: “I believe that his conduct in the COI reinforces the partisan nature of his thinking, and now that he’s going to head the PSC…I think he will bring two sets of baggage with him; the political approach to the job – judging people on the basis of politics – and secondly, he has a lot of interpersonal problems with many members of the Police Force and old scores, I believe to settle, and therefore that could harm his judgment”.

These concerns were disregarded, and having satisfied the constitutional requirement to ‘consult’ with the Leader of the Opposition, David Granger appointed Slowe Chair of the PSC. Granger has long sailed into the sunset, but the fallout from his political decision is still with us.

There was no nuance to the overlooking of David Ramnarine and Clifton Hicken for the top job in the PSC recommendations to Granger, nor in the promotion of Lyndon Alves, Paul Williams, Nigel Hoppie, and Maxine Graham to Deputy Commissioners. These were political moves to secure the Office of Commissioner of Police for those with partisan (APNU/PNC) interests for the foreseeable future.

Before this premise is dismissed as being partisan, one has to consider the conduct of the Guyana Police Force during the 2020 elections.

Assistant Commissioner Edgar Thomas, who was Commander of Region 4, was relieved of his duties by Granger/Slowe’s COP appointee Leslie James for failing to follow orders given to him (Thomas) by a Deputy Superintendent to clear the Ashmin Building. It requires no understanding of the nuances of rank to understand it is insubordination for a junior officer to give orders to a senior, nor to understand that the transfer of Thomas to a desk job at Headquarters was a political decision, and was so grossly unprofessional that it has left an indelible stain on the Force; part of the Granger/Slowe legacy.

Editor, the promotion of Clifton Hicken to Commissioner of Police without a recommendation from the PSC can be directly attributed to court proceedings involving Paul Slowe, and without consultation with the Leader of the Opposition as due to the intractability of David Granger in filling that vacancy; for Paul Slowe to characterise the President’s actions as illegal, and to try to further push the political agenda set for the Police Force during Granger’s tenure while President Ali corrects the historical and moral wrongs done to Clifton Hicken (who was seconded out of the Force to the Ministry of the Presidency) speaks volumes of the characters of those involved in the debate on Hicken’s overdue ascension to the top job.

Sincerely,
Robin Singh