The opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) yesterday commended the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Guyana Police Force for its recent successes in solving crimes and suggested that Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum be promoted.
In a press statement, the party did not commend the Guyana Police Force as a whole, but singled out CID for its successes.
The force has recently seen breakthroughs in quite a few high-profile cases, including murders. Only on Sunday, investigators recovered remains believed to have been those of Babita Sarjou, who has been missing since 2010. The remains were found behind her ex-husband’s home. He and another man are expected to be charged with murder.
According to a PPP statement issued yesterday, investigating ranks “now appear to be listening finally to civilians and not believing that they know it all.”
“There was a time when everything civilians [said] was ignored and disregarded to the detriment of successful investigation and prosecution. Making effective use of human intelligence and civilian common sense is the way to go,” it said.
According to the party, dispersing CID sleuths to areas where useful information can be obtained is proving to be productive and effective. It further suggested that informants should be used but at all times police investigators must uphold the ethics and roles of good professional policing.
“Closer and closer collaboration between Special Branch and CID operatives has been on the agenda for the longest while, however, it now appears to have been finally consummated. Special Branch is the main intelligence gathering unit of the Guyana Police Force. Their work must be fused with criminal intelligence if continued success is to be assured,” the party added.
On Blanhum, the PPP said the Crime Chief and his team must be commended and he should be considered for promotion immediately from Senior Superintendent to Assistant Commissioner, since the Crime Chief must at all times be at that rank.
“However, Blanhum must at all times refuse instructions and directives of a non-professional and political nature,” the party warned, while adding that his successes put paid to the track record of the former Crime Chief on crime solving. Prior to Blanhum, Assistant Commissioner Leslie James held the post and before him it was the present Commissioner of Police, Seelall Persaud. Persaud, who was appointed under a PPP/C-led government, in recent times has traded words with the PPP and more specifically former home affairs minister Clement Rohee.
The PPP’s commendation is unusual considering that the period when breakthroughs were not being made was during its long period in office. The PPP had often been criticised for poor national security during its terms in office.