Opposition Leader, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo on Thursday stated that he is awaiting the President’s choice of the nominee for the position of Commissioner of Police (COP) before he raises any questions in relation to the selection process.
Jagdeo explained to media operatives during his weekly press conference on Thursday that he intends to inquire from the Head of State, David Granger, what assessment was undertaken to ensure that the candidate he [President] selected is “unbribable” and holds all the qualities that the President outlined he wanted in the new COP.
Earlier this month, Granger told media operatives that some of the qualities the new Top Cop should possess are integrity, intelligence and impartiality.
“I don’t give orders to the Commissioner of Police, but I want somebody who is unbribable; I want somebody who is intelligent; and I want somebody whose commitment is to carrying the programme of Security Sector Reform, who has the initiative and who can generate public trust. If I put somebody there who is not trust worthy, the public would laugh,” he had said.
Jagdeo, had voiced his opinion that Granger’s assertion that the Police Commissioner has to be “unbribable” leaves room for judgment to be passed on the rejected nominees.
“…what is he saying about the candidates who are there and generally, the [Guyana] Police Force? …In a way, it’s disparaging the people there and whoever he selects. People will feel that the other candidates were bribable, that’s why they were not selected,” he said on Thursday during his weekly press conference.
According to the PPP General Secretary, this reason given by Granger for the lengthy period in which it is taking to have a substantive Police Commissioner appointed is just “another lame excuse.”
Moreover, he posited that the President should have applied this same “unbribable” criteria when he was selecting his own Cabinet.
“…if the President had applied this criteria to his own Cabinet, he may not have a Cabinet today…He should focus on unbribable Ministers too, given what we’re seeing now,” he said.
Article 211 (1) of the Constitution vests the President with the authority to appoint the Commissioner of Police and every Deputy Commissioner of Police only after “meaningful consultation with the Leader of the Opposition, and Chairperson of the Police Service Commission after the Chairperson has consulted with the other members of the Commission.”
With the recent reconstitution of the Police Service Commission, the process will move forward, the President had promised, while noting that he has already spoken with the Chairman of the new Police Service Commission, Paul Slowe, on the matter.
Former Commissioner of Police Seelall Persaud went into pre-retirement leave back in February, and officially retired two months later. Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Administration, David Ramnarine, has since been the acting Top Cop.
He and seven other Assistant Commissioners were each interviewed for the post.
The other ACPs are: Crime Chief Paul Williams; ACP – Operations, Clifton Hicken; Force’s Finance Officer, Nigel Hoppie; ‘A’ Division Commander (ag), Leslie James; substantive ‘A’ Division Commander Marlon Chapman, ‘B’ Division Commander Lyndon Alves; and for the first time ever, a female contender in ACP-Administration II, Maxine Graham. (Ramona Luthi)