President orders suspension of Police Service Commission

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President Dr Irfaan Ali has ordered the suspension of Police Service Commission (PSC) Chairman Paul Slowe and fellow Commissioner Clinton Conway, both of whom are retired Assistant Commissioners of Police who have been embroiled in controversy.

This came to light in letters addressed to the duo, in which the President informed them that, based on advice from Prime Minister Brigadier General (retired) Mark Phillips, and in accordance with Article 225 of the Constitution of Guyana, they would be suspended pending the findings of a tribunal to be established.

In a correspondence seen by this publication, the President stated, “Please be informed that by letters dated the 15th June 2021, (Prime Minister Phillips) the prescribed authority under the provisions of Article 225 of the Constitution of Guyana, has advised me that the question of your removal as a member of the Police Service Commission ought to be investigated, and that you ought to be suspended from performing the functions of that office with immediate effect pending those investigations.”

He noted in the correspondence, “I have accepted the aforementioned advice, and shall establish a tribunal in the manner prescribed by Article 225, which shall inquire into the matter and report on the facts thereof to me, and recommend whether you ought to be removed from office. In the circumstances, you are hereby suspended with immediate effect from performing the functions of member of the Police Service Commission pending the establishment of the tribunal.”
Article 225 (2) of the Constitution of Guyana states that “The officer may be removed from office only for inability to discharge the functions of his office (whether arising from infirmity of body or mind or any other cause whatsoever) or for misbehaviour.”

Meanwhile, Article 225 (3) says that “The officer shall be removed from office by the President if the question of his removal from office has been referred to a tribunal appointed under this article and the tribunal has recommended to the President that the officer ought to be removed from office for inability as aforesaid or for misbehaviour.”

Conway and Slowe, in addition to several other retired senior Police officers, are presently facing charges of conspiracy to defraud the Guyana Police Force of $10 million. The fraud was unearthed during a probe conducted by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU).

Slowe has also been accused of sexually assaulting a female officer, something he has denied.

It is alleged that Paul Slowe, Clinton Conway, Claude Whittaker, George Fraser, Mark Gilbert, Royston Andries-Junor, Marcelene Washington, Michael Sutton and Marion Kellman, between March 1, 2019 and July 7, 2020, conspired together to defraud the Guyana Police Force (GPF) of $10M.

Reports are that money was paid to revise the entire raft of the Police Force’s Standing Orders, but Slowe and the others have so far failed to present the Force with a raft of completed revised Standing Orders.

The raft of Police Force’s Standing Orders comprises 104 Standing Orders, but these were already revised at the time that the men implicated in the fraud reportedly undertook to conduct a revision.

“The entire 104 Standing Orders of the Guyana Police Force were completely revised by civilian Police analysts that work at the Strategic Planning Unit of the Guyana Police Force between July 2018 and March 2019. However, Slowe and others were paid to do the same revision when it was already done,” a missive from the Force stated.

In wake of the charges, Prime Minister Phillips recently wrote to Slowe and Conway, demanding that they show cause why the charges levelled against them should not merit their removal from the Police Service Commission.

Meanwhile, Slowe’s lawyer, Canada-based Guyanese Attorney-at-Law Selwyn Pieters, has released a short statement from his social media account on Wednesday evening, announcing that they would not be responding publicly to the President’s move until later.