Suspended Police Service Commission (PSC) Chairman Paul Slowe on Monday defied his suspension by Head of State Dr Irfaan Ali and wrote acting Police Commissioner Nigel Hopie attempting to instruct him to act on the Police promotion list that the PSC had sent out.
Slowe was suspended by order of the President since last month.
In his letter to the Police Commissioner, Slowe urged him to prepare a Special Promotion Order that would inform the officers who are in line for promotion. Slowe reminded Hoppie that his office was sent the list of officers to be promoted on June 28, 2021 and moreover, his office acknowledged receiving the promotion list two days later.
President Ali issued an order suspending the PSC on June 16, using his powers under Article 225 of the Constitution of Guyana. Slowe is yet to challenge the President’s order in court. Despite this, however, Slowe in his letter urged Hoppie to act.
Acting Police Commissioner Nigel Hoppie
“As you are aware, you are required to cause a Special Promotion Order to be prepared so that the promoted ranks and other members of the Force can be informed of the promotions. The Quartermaster also uses the Special Promotion Order to issue badges of rank to the newly promoted ranks,” Slowe said in the letter.
“The lawyer to the Police Service Commission, Mr. Selwyn Pieters, copied you on a letter, which was sent to President Mohamed Irfaan Ali informing him that his purported suspension of the Police Service Commission was unconstitutional and of no legal effect. He also informed the President that the Police Service Commission will continue to do its work until the end of its term in August, 2021.”
Slowe told the Police Commissioner that by not acting on the suspended PSC’s letter and ensuring the preparation of the Special Promotion Order, he was “defying the legitimate action of the Police Service Commission in promoting ranks of the Guyana Police Force.”
“This letter is to inform you that the Police Service Commission expects you to cause the Special Promotions Order to be published forthwith, and that you give instructions to the Quartermaster to issue the newly promoted ranks with their badges of rank,” Slowe informed the Commissioner.
Slowe went on to threaten Hoppie with legal action to compel him to obey the PSC. According to Slowe, who is himself a retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, Hoppie has until July 6 at 12:00h to respond.
Slowe, along with several members of the Commission, and retired and serving officers are currently facing criminal charges before the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts. They have been implicated in a $10 million fraud over duties delegated to them for revising the Police Force’s Standing Order.
It is alleged that the officers collected payments amounting to $10 million, but never provided the Force with a revised Standing Order. He has also been accused of sexually assaulting a female officer, something he has denied.
Prime Minister, Retired Brigadier General Mark Phillips had written to Slowe and the PSC’s Commissioners at least twice, asking them to show cause why they should not be removed.
The PSC was suspended by President Ali on June 16, 2021, after he had followed the constitutional process involving each member being asked to show cause why he should not be suspended. This decision of the President was communicated to each member of the PSC by a letter bearing that date which was dispatched and received.
Despite this suspension, however, the PSC went ahead on June 28 and released a list of officers it deemed worthy of promotion for 2020. The list was released not long after acting Chief Justice Roxanne George dismissed a case brought by Senior Superintendent of Police Calvin Brutus, who was seeking to block the promotion list on the basis that he was being bypassed for promotion by the PSC.
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Government has, however, since rejected this list as unlawful and illegal, with Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall, SC, issuing a statement reminding the PSC that it is suspended and as such, cannot issue any list.
“The said decision of the President can only be rescinded, revoked, set-aside, or reversed by the President himself, or by a court of competent jurisdiction. No person, let alone, a constitutional commission, will be allowed to become judge, jury, and executioner in our constitutional democracy. The Rule of Law simply does not permit it,” Nandlall had said.