APNU’s presidential candidate David Granger yesterday called for an independent probe of the alleged links between senior policemen and drug lords, saying that the police cannot be depended on to investigate themselves.
Speaking at a press briefing at Congress Place, Granger said that the APNU intends to put pressure on the PPP/C administration until they conduct the investigation saying that in the past such pressure has worked.
“We will keep the pressure up. There is no way we can go into the election with this type of police force. It is rotten and I think that the level of criminality is eventually going to result in a much higher level of criminality, not only in the police force but the country as a whole,” he said.
Granger insisted that the inquiry needed to be done before the upcoming elections, but said he is not willing to see a postponement of the polls. “I am not willing to see a shift in the time-frame for elections, but I believe that the present situation warrants urgent action and this could be completed in a very short time,” Granger said.
He added that if the PPP/C administration resists attempts for such an inquiry, the APNU will explore other opportunities, including contacting international organisations and the donor community.
During the briefing, Granger also called for the immediate interdiction from duty of all officers alleged to have illegal relations with narco-traffickers, the immediate implementation of the recommendations of the Disciplined Forces Commis-sion and the introduction of a Security Sector Reform Action Plan in order to reform the Police Force.
Police on Wednesday confirmed that several members are under investigation as a result of allegations of ties between them and the drug trade sourced to Assistant Commissioner Steve Merai. Police said investigations into the allegations were handed over to the Assistant Commissioner of ‘Law Enforcement’ Seelall Persaud and that Merai had been asked to provide any evidence he has against the officers and other ranks concerned and their associates.
Granger, however, argued that it is problematic when the police investigate themselves. “The police cannot be depended on to defend themselves.
This is what happened with the Office of Professional Responsibility and this what happened with the Police Complaints Authority, in both cases the complaints go back to the Office of the Commissioner of Police [and] I think that is where the problems reside, “ Granger said.
According to him, “If the police are asked to investigate themselves, we will get these answers, and that is what we’ve been getting for the last 19 years.” On Wednesday, AFC presidential candidate Khemraj Ramjattan called for the resignation of Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee and the Commissioner of Police Henry Greene as well as all ranks involved.
Public satisfaction in this matter, Ramjattan said, could only be achieved though international intervention, involving participation from CARICOM, Scotland Yard or the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).