Ramnarine was overlooked for COP position on advice from PSC Chair – President

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President David Granger during this morning’s press briefing (DPI photo)

In light of many questions being raised as to why the Former Acting Top Cop, David Ramnarine was not made the substantive Police Commissioner, or even one of the four Deputy Commissioners, President David Granger has indicated that his selection was based on “recommendations” received from the Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), Paul Slowe.

On Thursday, Opposition Leader, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo had disclosed that according to Granger, Ramnarine was not selected for the Commissioner of Police (COP) position because of “specific reasons.”

When asked to elaborate on this during a press conference on Friday, the Head of State refused to do so.

Former acting Commissioner of Police David Ramnarine

However, he stated that “the selection of the Police Commissioner is regulated by the Constitution. It is an extremely important position and every stage of the selection process is mandated in the Constitution….I was required under the Constitution to consult with the Chairman of the Police Service Commission so all that was done and I received recommendations and … I felt those recommendations were reasonable and I followed those recommendations.”

“I’m not going to disclose what those recommendations were but my final decision was based largely on the consultation that I had with the Chairman of the Police Service Commission,” the Head of State asserted, noting that he relieved “heavily” on the advice he received.

In relation to his selection of former Divisional Commander, Leslie James as the new Police Commissioner, the President told the media “I can justify my decision.”

Leslie James being sworn in as COP

Seven candidates, including Ramnarine, were nominated for the post of the Police Commissioner 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.

Jagdeo had indicated that he enquired from the President about the “role of Paul Slowe and whether the COI [into an alleged assassination plot against the President last year] would have tainted some of the nominees.”

“He [President] assured me that Paul Slowe recused himself at the Police Service Commission when some of the nominees were discussed,” the Opposition Leader had asserted, contrary to what the President is now saying.

President David Granger receiving the Commission of Inquiry (COI) Report into the alleged Assassination Plot of the Head of State from Head of the Commission, Paul Slowe

Slowe headed the alleged assassination plot CoI last year and made recommendations in his final report which he submitted to the President.

The CoI report 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 he 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.

Opposition leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

Jagdeo had long indicated his belief that that Slowe, a former Assistant Commissioner of Police, “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.

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