Slowe leads inquiry into alleged plot to kill president

-terms of reference focused on police force’s handling of probe

Retired Assistant Com-missioner of Police, Paul Slowe was yesterday sworn in to lead the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into an alleged plot to assassinate President David Granger and the police force’s handling of the investigation.

Slowe, who was sworn-in by Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan and said he would begin work as soon as possible, has been mandated to inquire into “the persons, places, time, circumstances and events by and through which allegations and reports came to be made of an intention of a plan to assassinate” Granger.

His terms of reference also include investigating and reviewing the full range of the actions and responses of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) to the reports and the extent to which such actions were conducted or executed with due diligence.

Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan presenting Paul Slowe with the instrument for his appointment to head the inquiry (Photo by Keno George)

He has also been asked to determine whether any person, and, in particular, officers of the GPF, had information before and after the reports were made of the alleged assassination plot and whether that information was communicated to any superior authority; and report on what official action was taken on information received and if there was due diligence by GPF officers in the investigation.

Another part of his mandate is reviewing all actions taken by the GPF and examining whether there was “failure, neglect or omission to thoroughly and properly investigate” and determine whether this was intentional. He is to also determine the “blameworthiness for failure or neglect of officers or persons involved in the investigation” and recommend action to be taken against anyone found culpable, as well as to recommend steps that can be taken to prevent a recurrence.

Slowe is also tasked with identifying systemic issues, if any, with the GPF’s competence to investigate matters of this nature.

The findings and recommendations from the CoI are expected to be submitted to the president on or before August 18, 2017.

In April, Minister of State Joseph Harmon had announced that the police were probing a report of a plot against the president.

Harmon was questioned about the alleged plot after the HGPTV newscast reported on an interview with a man who claimed that a businessman had solicited his services in assassinating the president.

A reliable source had told Stabroek News that despite several efforts, the police were unable to hold a planned confrontation owing to the reluctance of a witness to come forward.

A previous confrontation was held with the complainant, who, initially, was also hesitant to cooperate, the source added.

The police had held a confrontation between the man who made the report of the plot and another who he said could verify his story.

A well-placed source had disclosed that the purported witness told the police that the complainant approached him after making a report to the police of the alleged plot to assassinate the president, and asked him if he could support his story by going to the police and giving a statement saying that he was present when a businessman offered the complainant money to assassinate the President. Further, the purported witness stated that the complainant offered him money in exchange for him supporting the complainant’s report.

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