Time has come to expand resources of Police Complaints Authority

Dear Editor,

The recent excesses committed by members of the Guyana Police Force has brought the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) which is tasked with the responsibility of investigating criminal wrongdoings by members of the force under scrutiny. Recently, the chairman of the PCA, retired justice Cecil Kennard when asked if he had a chance to peruse the file of 15 year old Alex Griffith who was shot in the mouth said “After having concluded the Colwyn Harding matter I will then look at the file”(SN:2014-05-14).

The chairman’s response clearly shows that he is overwhelmed by the magnitude of investigating the multiple complaints lodged against rogue members of the force; this is not an attack on the competence of the chairman, as his legal accomplishment is well established, but it is against that backdrop that the time has come to expand the organisational structure of the PCA to better assist the chairman in carrying out his mandate. I suggest that the following measures be immediately implemented to make the PCA a more effective body:

-The establishment of a Legal and Complaints Unit which would be tasked with receiving and reviewing complaints, informing the complainants in writing what action would be taken with respect to the complaint lodged and to ensure that complaints are forwarded for investigation. This department must also be staffed with at least two attorneys, two complaints officers and an administrative assistant.

-The creation of an Investigative Unit which would be staffed with a team of experienced investigators. The responsibility of this unit is to conduct investigations with respect to the complaints received, which would include gathering evidence and carrying out interviews. Upon completion of investigations, the files will be sent to the Legal and Complaints Unit where the legal advisors will ensure that the files contain all information needed and that the evidence gathered is in keeping with the rules governing such.

The above mentioned suggestions would allow for the punctual and effective completion of investigations and for the rendering of transparent opinions based on the findings of the PCA. I am not aware if the PCA is a statutory body, but if it is not then parliament needs to move swiftly in giving the statutory mandate, clearly outlining its powers and functions. An annual budgetary allocation would be an imperative for the expanded PCA to effectively carry out its functions.

The PCA plays a very important role in holding members of the GPF accountable when they would have violated the human rights and civil liberties of citizens of this country and thus I support its continuous improvement to make it an institution that embodies the confidence of citizens as we seek to hold our uniformed forces to a high standard of professional behaviour.

Yours faithfully,
Michael Baird Jr

More in Letters

default placeholder

Bid Protest Committee ‘resignation’

Dear Editor, The Stabroek News article captioned ‘Chair of Bid Protest Committee resigns’ published in its July 27, 2016 edition is false.

default placeholder

Ministry of Public Infrastructure has budgeted for work on Leguan roads to begin in August

Dear Editor, Reference is made to the letter published in the Monday July 25, edition of the Stabroek News by Mr Hans M Buer, under the headline ‘Leguan roads are in a terrible state’.

default placeholder

Indigenous patient who broke bone on July 20 told by GPH to return August 8 for setting

Dear Editor, For years Indigenous people have struggled to cope with the health system which seems to have been designed without our people in mind.

default placeholder

Prof Persaud had a distinguished career in the Commonwealth Secretariat

Dear Editor, It was only last week in one of my pieces I mentioned that there are a few outstanding Guyanese in the diaspora.

default placeholder

Passengers treated with utter contempt at the Essequibo ferry stellings

Dear Editor, I don’t know why more people who travel on the Parika to Supenaam ferry service aren’t writing to defend the gentleman who was made to wait several hours, while other people who came after him were allowed to board the ferry.

default placeholder

Public expectation of politicians has hardened

Dear Editor, It is with surprise that one reads of reaction to the structure, functioning and legal basis of the anti-corruption unit SOCU, and of reservations about SARU.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: