This publication was reliably informed that President David Granger is preparing to meet Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, upon his return from the Caricom Heads of Government meeting, as it pertains to the appointment of the Commissioner of Police.
At that meeting Granger and Jagdeo are expected to discuss the appointment of Guyana’s next Police Commissioner and the two important service commissions, which must be fully-constituted before any decisive appointments are made with the Police and Public Service Sectors.
This confirmation comes on the heels of statements made by State Minister Joseph Harmon, who reminded the media on Thursday that the matter of a substantive appointment of a Police Commissioner after Seelall Persaud’s retirement back in April of this year, was still before President Granger.
Currently, Assistant-Police Commissioner David Ramnarine is acting in the capacity as Guyana’s Police Commissioner. He has been interviewed as part of the selection process.
The other seven Assistant Commissioners interviewed for the post are 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, who is currently on leave; B Division Commander, Lyndon Alves; and for the first time, a woman contender, the ACP-Administrate II, Maxine Graham.
The Police Service Commission has to be fully constituted first before any selection could be made.
The National Assembly recently approved some of the names following consultations with key entities.
Retired Assistant Commissioner, Paul Slowe heads the list of persons recommended by the Committee of Appointments of the National Assembly for appointment to the Police Service Commission.
Paul Slowe had been the Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry (COI) into the alleged assassination plot on the President last year.
In his COI report which was leaked to the state media before Cabinet could peruse it, he outlined several disciplinary actions to be taken against the former Commissioner, Seelall Persaud among other senior officers who were interviewed by the Commission.
Opposition Leader, Dr Bharrat 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 then drew attention to the fact the Slowe had in fact served on the coalition’s campaign team in the last general Elections held in May 2015.
Also recommended were Retired Assistant Commissioner, Clinton Conway and Retired Woman Assistant Commissioners of Police, Vesta Adams and Claire Jarvis.
The nominations to the Police Service Commission were received from the Association of Former Members of the Guyana Police Force and the Guyana Police Association.
Meanwhile, the Opposition leader has declined media requests to name his favoured nominee for the Top Cop post saying that any decision to identify the person he believes is most suitable would be done following consultations and discussions with President Granger on the matter.
Jagdeo said that only after the process winds up then he would be at liberty to inform the nation of both his concerns and who he would have chosen were it solely up to him.
The Opposition Leader also confirmed that his office is not in receipt of any official correspondence for a meeting with Granger on the matter nor has been duly informed that a meeting would be taking place anytime soon.
As it pertains to the appointment of the Top Cop, section 210 of Chapter 1:01 of the Constitution of Guyana outlines that there must be meaningful consultations with the Opposition Leader and Chairperson of the Police Service Commission.
“The Commissioner of Police and every Deputy Commissioner of Police shall be appointed by the President acting after meaningful consultation with the Leader of the Opposition and Chairperson of the Police Service Commission after the Chairperson has consulted with the other members of the Commission,” the relevant section of the Constitution states.
“If the office of Commissioner of Police is vacant or if the holder thereof is for any reason unable to perform the functions of his or her office, a person may be appointed to act in that office and the provisions of the preceding paragraph shall apply to such an appointment as they apply to the appointment of a person to hold that office…” the supreme law of Guyana further noted. (Michael Younge)