President David Granger says he has “specific reasons” for not choosing former Acting Police Commissioner, David Ramnarine for the Top Cop position, but assured the Opposition Leader, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo on Thursday morning that the findings of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into his (President’s) alleged assassination plot last year, had not tainted the nominees.
This disclosure was made on Thursday by Jagdeo following his weekly press conference.
According to the former President, following consultations with Granger today, he questioned the Head of State as to what role the former Assistant Commissioner of Police, and recently appointed Head of the Police Service Commission, Paul Slowe played in the selection process.
Slowe had been the Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry into the alleged assassination plot of the President last year.
“I asked about the role of Paul Slowe and whether the COI would have tainted some of the nominees…He assured me that Paul Slowe recused himself at the Police Service Commission when some of the nominees were discussed,” Jagdeo told media operatives.
The CoI report completed by Slowe had, among other things, recommended that the then substantive Police Commissioner, Seelall Persaud, be forced to resign or be removed if he refused.
Assistant Police Commissioner David Ramnarine was acting as Police Commissioner when the allegation was levelled and told the CoI that he felt a proper investigation was not conducted.
As such, the report also recommended that sanctions be imposed against him for his failure to ensure that a proper investigation was not conducted.
Jagdeo at that time had indicated his belief that Slowe had “had an axe to grind” and was acting on the basis of vendetta.
He also drew attention to the fact that the now PSC Head had in fact served on the coalition’s campaign team in the last general Elections held in May 2015.
“He was put there to do a hatchet job on the leadership of the police force, destroying professionalism,” Jagdeo had said.
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 were nominated for the posts of Police Commissioner and Deputy Commissioners, initially.
However, President Granger’s selection and submission to the Opposition Leader identified Leslie James as Commissioner and the Deputy Commissioners as Lyndon Alves, Maxine Graham, Nigel Hoppie and Paul Williams.
The swearing ceremony was concluded on Thursday afternoon at State House.
With regards to the appointment of James as the COP, Jagdeo also told media operatives that he does not have an adverse nor positive opinion of the selection, since he was not granted enough time by the President to consult.
“This impeded on my constitutional authority,” he said, noting that he brought it to the President’s attention on Thursday, and was assured that measures will be put in place to ensure that a there is no re-occurrence with the delayed correspondence.