Following last week’s approval of the nominees for the much-anticipated Police Service Commission (PSC), Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan has assured that the appointment of a new Commissioner of Police will be imminent.
Ramjattan explained during a press engagement on Friday that the President was awaiting the appointment of the PSC, since he is required by the Constitution to have meaningful consultations with the Chairman, as well as with the Opposition Leader in terms of appointing a new Top Cop.
“That is why we are trying to get the Police Service Commission reconstituted and then thereafter, the President would meaningfully consult with the Commission members or the Chairman and then the Leader of the Opposition, and then he would have to make a decision based on all those considerations… bt expect the appointment soon,” Ramjattan said.
Further asked whether this appointment will be done within the Guyana Police Force’s anniversary month (July), the Public Security Minister said, “sometimes we politicians misspeak, and it might not happen but the fact that it has now gone through the process of coming out of Parliament, those names from the appointments committee, I am certain it will be constituted quickly and then the President will move on to have his meaningful consultations.”
Moreover, when questioned about the scores if the Force’s eight Assistant Commissioners of Police who were interviewed for the post at the helm of the country’s premier law enforcement agency, the Public Security Minister opted not to divulge any details, saying that it is a confidential matter and that “You’re getting into an arena you’re not supposed to get into.”
Former Commissioner of Police, Seelall Persaud, went off into retirement back in February and ACP-Administrate, David Ramnarine, has been the acting Top Cop ever since. 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.
Once the new PSC members are sworn-in and a chairman is selected, the process will move forward in appointing a new Top Cop.
On Monday last, the National Assembly approved the nominations of rtired Assistant Commissioner of Police, Paul Slowe; retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, Clinton Conway; retired Woman Assistant Commissioner of Police, Vesta Adams, and retired Woman Assistant Commissioner of Police, Claire Jarvis, as new members of the PSC, which had expired since last September.
However, prior to the approval, Opposition Members of Parliament had expressed concerns over the fact that there were no civilian nominees on the Commission.
Meanwhile, the reconstitution of the PSC comes after there has been calls for the process to be fast-tracked, especially since there were no promotions of senior officers last year, which caused uneasiness amongst ranks.
Before the life of the Commission had expired, President Granger in July 2017, had ordered that the body put the promotion of senior ranks on hold. He subsequently justified his decision and despite a court order stating that the Government had acted unconstitutionally, maintained he had had good cause for stopping the promotions.
Last November, during a High Court ruling on the halting of promotion of personnel so listed, Chief Justice (acting) Roxane George established that the President did breach the Constitution when he issued a directive to halt promotions.