Mentore says visa scam allegations against him were dealt with in 2001

Patrick Mentore, head of the panel of civilians set up to oversee police reforms said allegations about him in a book about the US visa scam were raised since 2001 and he had dealt with them.

He told Stabroek News on Friday that no attention should be paid to the allegations in a book written by a US citizen alleging wrong-doing on his part and the focus should instead be on whether he could perform the role to which he was appointed.

“My position as the head of the Strategic Management Department has nothing to do with any allegation or speculations in any book by anyone. I think that the important thing is whether I can perform my function in the role I have been appointed,” Mentore said when contacted.

The book, which was written by US Professor David Casavis, talks about the visa scam that emanated from the US Embassy in Guyana. It had been engineered by an American employee by the name of Thomas Carroll who worked in the visa section and sold visas  while utilizing the services of local enforcers. The visa racket ring was busted in 2000 and Carroll was arrested along with Guyanese Halim Khan. Both were later convicted in the US. In the book Casavis detailed an elaborate ring which saw then serving members of the Guyana Police Force acting as enforcers.

The book also named then employees of the US Embassy who allegedly were involved in scam

Mentore, a former police officer, was employed by the US Embassy but was let go in 2001 and he said “this matter was raised since 2001 and I dealt with.”

He said that at no time did he hide the fact that he worked with the US Embassy and when asked if he was eventually relieved of his duties he replied in the affirmative.

He said what is important is that he never committed an offence against the laws of Guyana.

Asked if the allegations in the book would not cause the public to question his ability to participate in the reform of the police force, Mentore said he is not “particularly worried” since he has not committed a crime.

As the head of the SMD, which has 10 civilian employees and is tasked with overseeing the implementation of the force’s strategic plan, Mentore and his team are expected to work alongside members of the force in addressing the key strategic priorities laid out in the plan. The SMD is expected to help optimize the collective performance of the force guiding it towards significant organizational renewal and change.

In a press release from the SMD, Mentore was described as a strategic management professional with over four decades of experience in the areas of project and public management, strategic planning and law enforcement. It said he was a strategic thinker with a keen sense of imaginative leadership and before going to the SMD he was the project coordinator for Line Ministries HIV & AIDS Prevention and Control, Health Sector Development Unit at the Ministry of Health. He was trained extensively in a number of strategic management areas including; improving the design, delivery and evaluation of capacity building, monitoring and evaluation of leadership development programmes, and management and organizational sustainability.

He served 15 years as a police officer and left as an assistant superintendent.

“Patrick brings a vast amount of institutional knowledge and experience to the SMD and is committed to seeing the department achieve all of its change objectives,” the release said. His employment at the US Embassy was not mentioned.

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