Use of welfare fund to feed police above board – Home Affairs

The Home Affairs Ministry last evening said that the use of the Police Central Welfare Fund to facilitate the feeding of ranks during the elections was above board but it however distanced itself from the reported directive of former Top Cop Henry Greene that help should be solicited by commanders from businessmen.

A flurry of questions has arisen over $90M that was said to have been set aside by the government to feed ranks during the elections period. The questions surfaced after the Assistant Police Commis-sioner and the Commander of C Division, David Ramnarine said he had not received any money. On the production of a cheque for $320,000 by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ramnarine acknowledged receiving it after the elections but said that it was  a pittance compared to the needs of ranks.

Following his frequent recourse to the press on this matter, Ramnarine now faces disciplining after Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee called on acting Police Commissioner Leroy Brummell to discipline Ramnarine for breaching the police force’s standing orders in relation to who in the force can speak to the media.

The ‘A’ Division cheque

In the statement yesterday the ministry slammed what it said was misleading information over the police welfare fund.

“No illegal or criminal act was committed by the payment of the money into the Police Central Welfare Fund”, it stated.

It said that according to the records available at the Guyana Police Force, a total of $43,008,000 via nine cheques was paid into the Police Central Welfare Fund by the Ministry of Finance.

The ministry said that the payments were made by the Ministry of Finance as a result of estimates that were submitted by the Police to cater for their ranks.

It added that the Police Finance Office thoroughly reviewed the amounts allocated and made payments to the appropriate Divisional and Branch Commanders based on criteria worked out by the Guyana Police Force.

As a result, the sum of $10,516,178 remained in the account and this has since been paid over to the Ministry of Finance.

“The Police Central Welfare Fund was established a number of years ago to take care of the welfare of policeman and women. It also manages the Police Messes, Bars and Canteens.

“The use of the Police Central Welfare Fund was the only feasible option available to facilitate proper accountability, transparency and the tracing of transactions relating to the expenditure of the money to feed the ranks”, the statement said.

It assured that all vouchers and relevant documents are in the possession of the police for audit.

“The Ministry of Home Affairs again repeats that $51,008,000.00 was paid to the Guyana Police Force for elections related activities, of which $43,008,000.00 was paid into the Police Central Welfare Fund for the feeding of ranks.

“None of this amount was paid to the Ministry of Home Affairs; neither did the Ministry direct the Police how to utilize the funds.

“The Ministry of Home Affairs has noted the constant references made in sections of the Media to a claim that a Senior Rank of the Guyana Police Force who, `on condition of anonymity’, claimed he did not receive like Assistant Commissioner Ramnarine `a blind cent’ from monies collected for General and Regional Elections 2011.  The claim by Ramnarine has since been discredited.

“The Ministry considers this claim like the previous one to be unfounded and misleading.  To set the record straight, the Ministry is releasing copies of returned cheques from all Divisions and signed for by the respective Commanders”, the statement, which was accompanied by copies of the cheques, said.

In relation to the claim that “monies requested by Commanders were never provided by the Force” the ministry said it is to be noted that Commanders can request any amount of money but in the end it is Force Headquarters that makes the final determination in the allocation of monies as per Division.

“Finally, as regards letters issued by Mr Henry Greene to Commanders to seek the assistance of the public, assuming that this is indeed the case, the Ministry wishes to make it clear that no such instruction originated from (the) Ministry of Home Affairs.

“Those who worked with and for the Guyana Police Force (GPF) over the years and prior to and after 1992 must know about these practices and much more which they themselves condoned and approved during their association with the Guyana Police Force.

“The Ministry is concerned about the manipulation of the information on this matter by political opportunists and elements of the media and which appears to be intended to cause confusion in the minds of the public and unease among the rank and file of the Guyana Police Force. Their efforts will not succeed”, the statement declared.

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