I was very disappointed to read Dr Roger Luncheon as saying that embattled Commissioner of Police Mr Henry Greene has “reached the retirement age of 55, but he agreed to stay on under an agreement [with the government] that he will not serve beyond 60.”
Article 211 (3) of the Guyana Constitution unambiguously imposes a mandatory age limit for a serving Commissioner of Police with the words “the Commissioner of Police shall vacate office when he attains such age as may be prescribed by Parliament.” That age is 55 and only Parliament can extend (or reduce) it, not the Cabinet, not the President, and not the government.
With a new President and a “new dispensation” (an already over-used term), we should be trying to unshackle ourselves from a reputation as a country where the constitution can be violated with impunity, where narco-traders operate freely, where gross misdeeds go unpunished, where the serving Commissioner of Police has had his US visa revoked and admits to abuse of office for sexual pleasure.
It is troubling that the government would not seize the opportunity to end Jagdeo/Luncheon’s unconstitutional agreement with Mr Greene and even now would seem willing to consider the continued violation of Article 211 (3) for a person who continues to bring our country into disrepute.
But this is not only about Dr Luncheon and his government. It is about the silence of the decent but cowardly people of our country, about those who put their material well-being before country, about the failure of our political parties, our civil society organisations (with one or two notable exceptions), our churches, temples and mosques. In short, it is about the whole pack of us.
If the government does not bring an end to Greene’s contract, it is the duty of every Guyanese to protest vigorously against his retention.