Leaders of the opposition have welcomed police commissioner Henry Greene’s decision to go on leave in light of an investigation into allegations that he sexually assaulted a woman.
They believe that it is a prelude to his departure from the post. “The way is now clear for the investigation to proceed,” said co-leader of the opposition coalition, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), Dr Rupert Roopnarine when contacted yesterday. He said that he hopes that it is a prelude to Greene’s resignation from the post.
Alliance For Change (AFC) presidential candidate, Khemraj Ramjattan said that Greene had done the “honourable” thing. “I think that is the end of him,” he added.
“We just hope that this investigation is completed in the shortest possible time so we can move forward,” said the woman’s attorney, Nigel Hughes. He also welcomed the disclosure that external investigators are supposed to be part of the probe. The attorney said that they hope that the investigations are thorough and completed quickly since his client remains in fear of her life.
The 34-year old mother of two had alleged that she was sexually abused by the Top Cop on the night of November 22 after she sought his assistance in resolving a police matter.
The Government Informa-tion Agency (GINA) reported on Saturday that President Donald Ramotar in an interview with the state-owned NCN said that Greene had requested leave to which he had acceded. GINA reported that the president said that he has asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to seek external assistance to carry out the investigations in order to expedite them and so that justice can be done. Assistant Commissioner Leroy Brummell would be discharging the responsibilities of Commissioner pending the outcome of the investigation.
Ramjattan said that Greene’s decision to proceed on leave creates a precedent for the police force and it would have the effect of highlighting to the police that they cannot commit “mischievous” acts and not get caught. It would have a deterrent effect, he said. Ramjattan added that he wishes more citizens would report when such incidents occur and said he believed that the outcome of the last elections would see increased reportage of incidents.
The AFC and APNU were among organizations that called for Greene’s removal after the allegations had surfaced.
Last Tuesday, the woman in the presence of Hughes, provided an account to the media of the incident which she said was committed by Greene at a city hotel. She said that she sought Greene’s assistance in retrieving a mobile phone which the police had taken possession of in a matter she had been involved in.
The woman alleged that after promising to assist her in retrieving her phone, Greene drove to a hotel in the city and after putting on a hat and brandishing a gun demanded she enter a room, labeled Room 1 at the Broad Street, Charlestown hotel. The woman alleged that the Top Cop then assaulted her. She recalled the Top Cop answering his mobile phone once during the episode, in which he responded with a series of affirmatives. She said he told her after the phone conversation that it was the “president who called’ in connection with the removal of barricades from the GECOM headquarters in Kingston. She said he later called someone and instructed them to remove the ranks from the police barricades, stating “waste of manpower.”
The woman said that after the incident Greene warned her against telling anyone or visiting a medical institution or doctor in connection with the matter. She said that he had been calling her for several days from a mobile number, which she provided as 699-0870. She said that Greene wrote the number at the back of his card and told her that only government officials knew the number.
The woman said that several days after the incident, another senior police officer called her mobile phone and requested her to meet with a senior government functionary at the Office of the President to discuss the issue but she declined. She said that the police officer told her that she should visit the government functionary alone “with no family or anybody.”
Crime Chief Seelall Persaud has since said that an investigation into the matter has been launched. He said that there is nothing in the Police Act and Standing Orders that indicated that once criminal allegations are levelled against the Top Cop he should be interdicted from duty pending the outcome of the investigation or should resign. There have also been calls for an independent body to investigate the matter as it would not be appropriate for Greene’s own ranks to investigate him.
Former police commissioner Winston Felix had called on Greene to resign but Greene had responded that Felix had “an axe to grind.” Greene would not comment on the allegations and said he was consulting with his lawyers.
This is not the first time that Greene has been at the centre of such a controversy. In 1974, a female rank had accused him of sexual abuse, a source told Stabroek News. The source explained that at the time Greene was either a cadet officer or an assistant superintendent stationed in Berbice. After the complaint by the woman, who was a special constable, a number of senior ranks intervened and the matter eventually petered out. Greene, the source said, was sent on leave following the complaint before being transferred to Georgetown.
Over the years, the source told Stabroek News, allegations were made against Greene, but nothing ever came out of those matters. In 1994, Greene allegedly inflicted a beating on a woman during a function at the Police Officers’ Mess Hall, Eve Leary, and again nothing came of the matter.