….As President stands by halting promotions even though Court ruled that Constitution was breached
As the clock winds down towards the end of the year, Government is aiming to have the Police Service Commission (PSC) convened by then. With the reconvening of this commission, it is expected that the business of the Police, including promotions, can recommence.
This was related to the press by President David Granger during a recent press conference, in which he noted that he would have expected the PSC to have been reconvened by now. The three-year lifespan of the PSC has expired since September, 2017.
“As far as the commission is concerned, I had hoped by now that it would have been in place,” Granger stated. “But I would not like to go into 2018 without that commission being in place. So I expect it (to have been reconvened) by the 31st of December.”
The President has actually been finalising the names of the commissioners since last month, according to Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan, who has been unable to give a definite timeline for the reconstitution of the commission, but has noted this could happen before the end of December.
Meanwhile, the President has also justified the part he played in halting the work of the PSC and the promotion of officers. Despite a court order stating that the Government had acted unconstitutionally, Granger maintained that he had had good cause for stopping the promotions.
In the November 22nd court ruling in regard to the halting of promotion of personnel so listed, Chief Justice (acting) Roxanne George established that the President did breach the Constitution when he issued a directive to halt promotions.
Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, in a letter dated July 27, wrote to the PSC informing that the President had directed that there be no consideration of promotion for members of the Guyana Police Force until further notice, and that this directive should be implemented immediately.
The President in his defence posited that, “deserving persons were being superseded. One letter writer claimed that there had been no internal procedure for nominating officers. It is the convention that the Commissioners would convene a committee of the most senior officers to nominate persons. This had not been done,” he explained.
According to Granger, he determined that there was a danger that persons who were not qualified would be recommended for promotion, while others more deserving would end up being left behind.
“In addition to that, there were other allegations — which I felt were justified — that the actual selection process was compromised. So, taken as a whole, I felt that the integrity of the process was compromised, and that it would not be in the public’s interest to proceed with those nominations.” Granger explained.
A perusal of the PSC’s list of personnel to be promoted had revealed that among those who were scheduled to be promoted were several senior officers who had been hauled before the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the assassination plot against President David Granger.
Some of those personnel were: Assistant Police Commissioner Clifton Hicken, who was tipped to be promoted to Deputy Commissioner of Police; Crime Chief, Senior Superintendent Wendell Blanhum, who had been lined up for promotion to Assistant Commissioner.
Head of Special Branch, Brian Eastman, was also listed to become a Senior Superintendent of Police; while Head of Major Crimes, Assistant Superintendent Mitchell Caesar, had been recommended for promotion to Deputy Superintendent. (Jarryl Bryan)