“We must come quickly to appreciate and understand that no conduct whether unethical, whether immoral, whether criminal, whether unprofessional will be spared,” Acting Police Commissioner David Ramnarine warned graduates of several police courses on Thursday as he lamented about ranks being accused of multiple crimes over the year.
Ramnarine gave the feature address at a graduation at the Officers’ Training Centre, Eve Leary where participants from the Guyana Police Force, Guyana Defence Force, Guyana Revenue Authority, Department of Labour in the Ministry of Social Protection, the City Constabulary and the Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit, graduated in four courses: Elementary Prosecutors Course, Continuous Professional Development Programme, CID Induction and Special Constable Initial Training.
“Unprofessional conduct… in the last months they have been all over the press. Not to say that we didn’t have police involved in criminal acts before but more so now that the world is one small global village society has improved. NGOs (Non-governmental Organisations), other arms, other interest groups are brought to bear on matters and almost everything gets into the public domain,” Ramnarine said.
During his speech, he referred to all of the misconduct that had been recorded by former ranks from the Guyana Police Force, from less serious traffic charges, such as speeding, to more serious and indictable matters such as murder.
Ramnarine explained that for the 2017, some 21 police vehicles have been involved in accidents along with a large number vehicles that are privately owned by police members.
“Speeding, we charge people with speeding. We prosecute people for speeding and our members are guilty of the same thing,” he said, while highlighting that others were charged for inattentiveness and failure to adhere to road signs.
Out of 10 recorded accidents where police ranks were driving their private vehicles, Ramnarine pointed out that eight of the cases were as a result of speeding, while the other two were noted as driving under the influence and inattentiveness. In three of the accidents, there were four deaths, while five of them resulted in serious injuries.
Ramnarine also highlighted the tint on vehicles operated by policemen and said that while much attention is paid when police ranks are stripping private persons’ vehicles, the police “don’t examine themselves”.
To reinforce his point, Ramnarine presented a list of headlines on ranks being fingered or charged for various crimes over the past year.
“I’m sure when you read some of these some of you smile and say thank God it’s not me. Well I took a position based on the powers that I have been given to operate in… We must come quickly to appreciate and understand that no conduct, whether unethical, whether immoral, whether criminal, whether unprofessional, no conduct will be spared,” he said, while reinforcing his position that any rank that is charged with any offence will be “attending court the second time as a civilian.”
“The one with the teacher’s [Kescia Branche] death is very painful as well as the one with the Intel rank [Derwin Eastman]. He and a colleague appeared in court today [Thursday] charged with murder. We have police on patrol transporting women and doing all manner of things. You have to pay the consequences. Everything has a consequence, whether negative or positive,” Ramnarine said.
Two police patrolmen on motorbikes were said to have picked up Branche from outside a night club while they were on duty. They are suspects in the ongoing probe of her death. Eastman and another policeman have been charged in the murder of businessman Godfrey Scipio.
Ramnarine stressed that as a result of the increase in criminal charges and complaints against ranks, the Force “spends a lot of time investigating ourselves.” Despite the increasing number of ranks being implicated in criminal acts, Ramnarine said that most can be prevented if the ranks, from the bottom of the force to the top, take pride in the uniform they wear and carry their professionalism through all aspects of their life.
He reminded the ranks that they are servants of the public and that no servant can be greater than its master and that it is not the public that has taken the oath, but the ones who wear the uniforms.
“I say it again, the public has not taken an oath. And if we don’t inculcate, if we don’t impress upon those under our command or charge, the importance of that oath that we have taken to serve, then we are neglectful. Some of us need supervision ourselves, that is the reality but should we back down? Should we lie down and just give up? No we can’t. The force is strong, the force is a body, not an individual, a collective and so it will survive and must survive,” he said.