Police Inspector Prem Narine yesterday maintained that the Commissioner of Police Seelall Persaud had instructed him to release the main suspect in the alleged plot to assassinate the President, countering Persaud’s claim that he had merely made a “suggestion.”
Narine was brought before the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) probing the allegation again to be subjected to cross-examination by Persaud’s attorney, Glenn Hanoman, who suggested that Narine may have misinterpreted what Persaud said.
In addition, he put it to Narine that in placing the blame on Persaud, he was trying to evade personal responsibility because he did not want to commit “political suicide.”
“…It might affect your promotion. If you say you made a decision to give bail to a man alleged to want to kill the president. You know it would affect your promotion,” Hanoman stated.
“Whatever decision I made, I am a professional and I stand by my decision. I don’t make it with political interference, I am a policeman. As a result, I have never lied to this commission and I don’t intend to do so,” Narine said.
Narine testified before the commission last Monday that he had received the instruction to release the men directly from the Commissioner of Police.
“I can’t recall the exact time, I received a call from the Commissioner of Police Mr Seelall Persaud. He asked me what was happening in relation to the matter. I told him there was Imran Khan at the station behaving in a certain manner. I told him that we have his brother Nizam Khan in custody in relation to the allegation…,” Narine had stated.
“…He then instructed that I send Mr Imran Khan on his own recognisance and place the other persons on bail. As a result of that and the fact that Mr Persaud was on leave at the time, I called Mr Caesar and I told him what the instructions were. He then told me that I should carry out those instructions if the commissioner said so,” the officer had said at the time.
Hanoman put to Narine yesterday that he did not report to Caesar or the commission the exact words that the commissioner told him, to which Narine said he used “words to the same effect.”
He had also made reference to the fact that when Narine had given testimony, he constantly referred to his statement as he could not remember details. Narine explained that this had been because he was manoeuvring several statements which all carried different dates.
Hanoman went on to suggest that Persaud did not use the word “instructing” in relation to placing Khan on bail.
“He did not say the words ‘I am instructing you’ and from my 17 years as a police officer, I have never had any of my seniors say “I am instructing you.” They would basically tell me what they want me to do. Being a disciplined rank and being in a disciplined organisation, they don’t have to tell me that they’re instructing me, I understand the instruction,” Narine asserted.
He agreed that while Persaud had not used the word instructing, he took it as an instruction, but noted that the words basically “amounted to an instruction.”
“…Being a member of the disciplinary force…there’s a standing order that governs the Guyana Police Force and I can’t recall it saying the word suggestion, sir. I know about instructions,” Narine said.
He indicated, when questioned by Hanoman, that the majority of the senior officers in the Major Crimes Unit had been involved in the investigation.
Hanoman put to Narine that it was not the first time that the Major Crimes unit was investigating a matter of that nature, that being incitement to commit murder, as a month prior, they had been investigating a similar matter.
Narine confirmed this but stated that he was referring to a plot to kill the President when he said it was the first of such an occurrence in his knowledge while he has been stationed there.
He said he could not say whether the suspect in the other matter was arrested and released on the same day, as suggested by Hanoman.
Narine had said at the previous hearing that said that he would prefer to keep persons in custody, which Hanoman yesterday called a “backward approach” and asked which law supports it. Hanoman advised that the law prevents you from keeping persons for more than 72 hours.
Narine denied telling Persaud that he believed that Khan’s accuser, Andriff Gillard, was lying in his statement, saying that that was “impossible” since he had not had a chance to go through the contents of the statement when he spoke with Persaud as he had just arrived at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
Asked by attorney Ian Chang, who represents the police force, whether the thought of arresting Gillard for misprision of treason (deliberate concealment of one’s knowledge of a treasonable act or a felony) never occurred to him, Narine indicated no.