Two prisoners on Sunday escaped from the Leonora Police Station lockups and according to acting police commissioner Leroy Brumell, two ranks who have been implicated could face criminal charges.
Brumell mentioned the incident during his address at the opening ceremony for the Junior Officers’ Course No 22 yesterday at the Police Officers Mess, Eve Leary and in using the incident as an example of bad attitude and management by some ranks charged the 32 participants not ruin the image of the force.
The participants were drawn from the Guyana Police Force, the Guyana Defence Force, Guyana Prison Service and the Georgetown Constabulary.
He told those gathered that he has instructed that a criminal investigation be conducted into the matter that occurred some time between 3.45 am and 8 am at the West Coast Demerara police station.
Brumell said that based on initial investigations the woman police corporal and the male constable who were on duty “might have been asleep during the incident when the men picked up their shoes broke out of the lockups, tore out the charge-sheet from in the report book and then made good their escape”.
The Police Commissioner said that he is not buying the apparent explanation by the ranks that the prisoners scrapped the charge-sheet. “I told the Commander that I don’t think a prisoner had time to tear out a charge-sheet. The ranks were sleeping, the men broke out, collected their shoes and when they woke up and they couldn’t find the men, they tore out the charge-sheets,” he told the attendees.
Home Affairs Minister, Clement Rohee, delivered the feature address and said that the Junior Officers Course is critical to the long-term sustainability of the senior management of the military and paramilitary organisations. “Some of the graduands of this and other Junior Officers training courses could find themselves being elevated to senior levels of the force within a few years of their training,” he said.
Rohee also used the opportunity to urge members of the Guyana Police Force to keep a “level and clear head” in dealing with current matters that have been in the public domain although he did not identify them.
The police force has been embroiled in a controversy over the spending of $90 million that had been allocated, partially for the provision of food and transportation to the force for the November 28 general and regional elections. The public quarrel between himself and Divisional Commander, Assistant Commissioner David Ramnarine last month boiled over to the point of the minister publicly saying that he had lost all confidence in the police officer and urging Brumell to institute disciplinary proceedings. Another matter relates to Police Com-missioner, Henry Greene, who remains on special leave, pending his fate now that the High Court has ruled that he cannot be charged with rape based on the existing advice by the Director of Public Prosecutions. Rohee said the ruling by acting Chief Justice Ian Chang has thrown the matter back into the hands of the Executive ie President Donald Ramotar and his cabinet who will hold their weekly meeting today. The minister however did not answer questions pertaining to any of the issues yesterday.
The Home Affairs Minister chided unnamed persons for creating the impression that the Guyana Police Force does not legally fall under ministerial oversight. “There are some in our midst who want to see the disintegration of law and order in this society and have been attempting to say that the Guyana Police Force could do what it likes without reference to the Laws of Guyana under which the force operates and the legal responsibilities of the Guyana Police Force to the Ministry of Home Affairs that are provided for under the laws,” he said.
He noted that the police force’s functions cannot be interfered with by anyone. “Do not be swayed by those persons who have a political agenda and who would want to mislead you for their own narrow ends,” he said.
The Junior Officers Course No 22 would be concluded at the end of May. Participants are being taught management skills, use of English as well as the various procedures that will be required of them at that level. It is envisioned by Guyana’s finest that the course will improve their professional competence, upgrade their knowledge in the art of leadership techniques and strengthen formal links among the uniformed services.