President directs PSC to halt Police promotions

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  • in alleged letter to Police Service Commission
  • PPP warns it’s another attempt by Govt to breach Constitution

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) is warning the government against any attempts to subvert constitutionally mandated commissions, in the wake of the alleged dispatch of a letter by President David Granger to the Police Service Commission (PSC), directing them on promotions.

According to the party in a press release on Tuesday, the situation was drawn to the attention of the Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo, that a letter was dispatched to the commission. The letter allegedly instructed the commission not to proceed with any promotion in the Guyana Police Force until further directed by the President.

President David Granger

“This is yet another vulgar and authoritarian attempt by the President to trample upon the independence and functional autonomy of a Constitutional Agency,” the PPP stated.  “The President and his Government continue, on a daily basis, to violate the rule of law, assault important democratic institutions and breach, in the most egregious fashion, the Constitution.”

It pointed out that Article 226(1) of the Constitution states: “In the exercise of its functions under the Constitution a Commission shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority”.

According to the party, the Police Service Commission is one of the Commissions to which Article 226 (1) makes reference. The party noted that by these directions, “it is clear that  President Granger demonstrates absolute disrespect and disregard for the letter and spirit of the Constitution and therefore, continues to contravene its provisions with impunity.”

The party went on to urge the Police Service Commission not to succumb to these unconstitutional and unlawful directives but to continue to discharge its mandate in the manner provided for by the Constitution.

While the Police Commissioner has power over ranks below the rank of Inspector, the Police Service Commission, according to the chapter 212 (1) of the constitution, has the power to make appointments to any officers in the Police Force at the rank of or above the rank of Inspector.

It also has the power to exercise disciplinary control over persons holding or acting in such offices. This includes the power to remove such persons from office.

Claims of interference on the Police Service Commission are reminiscent of the case of Carvil Duncan, the former head of another commission.

Duncan, who had headed the Public Service Commission, had reason to move to the courts to challenge the President’s decision to suspend him from the offices he held after allegations of fraud.

While that case was in the court, Patrick Yarde was appointed as head of the Public Service Commission in Duncan’s stead.

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