Commissioner Henry Greene should offer an apology to the nation and resign from his post, according to Alliance For Change (AFC) member Cathy Hughes who joined her voice to those of a number of organisations and individuals calling for the top cop to go.
“The fact that the Commissioner admitted that the individual in question went to him in his official capacity seeking help and the fact that he also admitted having a sexual encounter with her, I feel that those two key points highlight the fact that the only honourable thing for him to do would be to offer his resignation,” Hughes told the Sunday Stabroek in an invited comment.
She said that based on his own admission Greene’s actions were “reprehensible.”
Calls have been mounting for the Commissioner to go home since an accusation of rape was levelled against him by a 34-year-old woman last December, and his subsequent admission of consensual sex with her when she was a witness in a criminal investigation. Following investigations the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Shalimar Ali-Hack advised the police to charge Greene with rape but the Commissioner in a surprise move approached the High Court for an order blocking the institution of a rape charge. Acting Chief Justice Ian Chang recently ruled against the DPP’s advice labelling it as “irrational” since the evidence presented to him did not support such a charge.
Many, including former Human Services Minister and now Education Minister Priya Manickchand, have expressed reservations about the ruling and its potentially negative impact on future rape investigations.
The Minister, who had called on Greene to leave office, had said she was worried about the implications Chang’s ruling would have on other prosecutions or intended prosecutions for rape, even though she agrees that the court had jurisdiction to review a decision by the DPP.
According to Hughes the Commissioner of Police must set the example for the police force and “when your leader behaves in such an unacceptable manner we wonder what kind of example is being set to other male members of the police force.”
She said that at this point and time the general public has little support or respect for the Guyana Police Force and this incident has only tarnished the force even more.
Further, Hughes expressed the view that even though Justice Chang through the court has given his legal opinion, Greene stepping down is an issue of “personal integrity” and therefore he should do the right thing.
“In other countries police commissioners have been fired for much less; I hope he would review his position and do what is the honourable thing and that is to resign,” she said.
Meantime, Women & Gender Commission member Magda Pollard in an invited comment said that the situation involving Greene and the woman signals to women that they cannot be guaranteed one of “very important human rights, namely access to justice.” She said women in Guyana are entitled to justice since the government has ratified the UN Convection on Human Rights as well as the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
“In this instance the perpetrator has publicly acknowledged committing the act… consensually… What more is required? Has the victim no rights under these conventions?” queried Pollard.
Pollard, the 1993 recipient of the Caricom Triennial Award for Women, said she supports the proposal of Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Deborah Backer that Justice Chang’s ruling be appealed.
“I strongly believe that matters of this nature should be resolved fairly in the shortest possible time. It is also possible that one of the actions taken by [Greene] may seriously undermine the important role of the Director of Public Prosecution as envisaged by the Constitution of Guyana,” Pollard posited.
She indicated that yet another woman may be a loser.
Two other members – Cheryl Sampson and Nicole Cole – have also called for Greene to go and according to its Chair Indra Chandarpal the issue would be discussed at the commission’s next statutory meeting slated for next Wednesday, since members have raised it. Approached for a comment the lone male member of the commissioner Peter Persaud, who ran as The United Force’s presidential candidate for the last elections, declined comment and said the commission would issue a statement following its meeting.