PPP General Secretary and former minister of home affairs, Clement Rohee today launched a stinging attack on the government over its handling of the police force and related matters.
A release issued by the party follows:
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) takes this opportunity to pronounce on three areas of concern related to the professionalism and reforms at the Guyana Police Force.
First, in light of the impending announcement of the 2016 promotion list for members of the Guyana Police Force, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) wishes to remind that former President Donald Ramotar in addressing the Opening Session of the Annual Officers’ Conference of the Guyana Police Force in April 2015 had announced that persons tipped for promotion will require integrity testing. Mr. Ramotar had emphasized that the move was aimed at weeding out corrupt persons from the law enforcement agency. In this connection, Ramotar had stated that;
“In future, for appointment to some senior positions there must be some form of integrity testing”.
Since then there has been no indication whether the Granger administration has taken up the mantle and proceeded in that direction.
Moreover, little or nothing is known about a number of Disciplinary matters that has been before the Police Service Commission for some time now.
Further, several disciplinary matters are before a Disciplinary Authority set up by the then Minister of Home Affairs and headed by former Senior Magistrate Cecil Sullivan.
Mr. Sullivan’s contract was terminated by Minister Ramjattan and as a result the work of the Authority ended prematurely thus placing in limbo those disciplinary matters that should be addressed urgently in the interest of the Force.
It is to be recalled that a disciplinary matter concerning Assistant Commissioner of Police David Ramnarine is among several disciplinary matters slated for consideration at the level of the Disciplinary Authority. Concerns have been expressed about persons whose disciplinary matters are yet to be heard and who have not been subjected to integrity tests being promoted in 2016.
Second, the Party has noted the remarks made by President Granger at the annual breakfast at the Force Headquarters on Tuesday December 16, 2015, where he is reported to have told his audience;
“The Minister of Public Security is obliged to report to Cabinet every single Tuesday morning on the state of the Police Force and on their success in overcoming the crime problem…… we haven’t told the police you are paid to do a job, go ahead and do it. We sit down and plan and strategize to make sure that Guyana can become a safe country for all our citizens.”
This statement is in stark contrast to the public position of APNU+AFC made when they were in the opposition and had hurled accusations at the PPP government to the effect that there was political interference in the planning, strategizing and operations of the Guyana Police Force though there was no evidence to this effect.
Now there is open and blatant interference in all three areas.
“The government is heavily involved in supporting and working with the Force to ensure that the crime situation is averted.”
attests to the high degree of political intrusion in the Guyana Police Force.
Under the PPP/C such intrusions were resisted by the hierarchy of the Force and this was manifested in several formal communications to the Ministry of Home Affairs, and at the level of monthly Ministry of Home Affairs/Guyana Police Force review meetings to assess implementation of the Strategic Plan of the Guyana Police Force.
Today, it is interesting to note the abandonment of resistance to political intrusion and ending the allegation of interference in police operations, planning and strategizing.
In other words, from all indications the public order mandate of the Ministry of Public Security has been usurped by the National Security Council at the Ministry of the Presidency where all the “security experts” are ensconced rather than at Force Headquarters, and the Ministry of Public Security.
Further, this disclosure means that Ramjattan’s wings have been further clipped. His portfolio of responsibility to “give general orders and direction to the Commissioner of Police” on public order and security matters has been diluted further by the National Security Council chaired by Granger.
This must be an unwelcome development for the hierarchy of the Force especially by those who were once vehemently opposed to political “intrusion” and “interference” by the PPP/C administration in the operations of the Guyana Police Force.
Third, for years the Force has resisted relocation of ‘F’ Division Headquarters to Bartica; it is indeed pathetic to read the feeble cry;
“The developmental movement of the Divisional Headquarters to Bartica will enhance command and control of police operational activities in the interior.”
It was under the PPP/C that ‘E’ and ‘F’ Divisions were split from one to two separate divisions with Linden being the headquarters for ‘E’ Division while the proposal was to have ‘F’ Division headquarters relocated from Force headquarters to Bartica.
The Police hierarchy is aware of their own excuses made time and again to make this recommendation a reality. The National Security Council, not Ramjattan has now directed that ‘F’ Division Headquarters be established at Bartica rather than at Force Headquarters.
The haste by which this new headquarters has been established is manifested in the absence of telephone/landlines and other communication facilities at the building, housing the new Divisional Headquarters.
The Granger administration continues with its haphazard, knee jerk policies of addressing the public safety and security situation in the country.