President David Granger while noting that he expects the Police Service Commission (PSC) to be reconstituted by yearend, reiterated yesterday that it was letters of complaints and an apparent compromised nomination process which led him to direct the body to halt the consideration of police promotions.
“So taken as a whole, I felt that the integrity of the process was compromised and that it was not in the public’s interest to proceed with those nominations and that is why it was requested that the recommendations be frozen”, he said at a press conference on Friday.
The High Court has since ruled that the directive in the President’s name was unlawful.
The president was on Friday asked to state the concerns brought to his attention that resulted in action being taken and what was causing the delay in the appointment of a new PSC Chairman.
Granger told this newspaper that he received a letter pointing out that deserving ranks were being superseded. “One letter writer claimed that there had been no internal procedure for nomination of officers”, he said.
According to Granger it was the contention that the Commissioner would convene a committee of the most senior officers to nominate persons but this was not done. “There was a danger that persons who were not qualified would be recommended for supersession and persons who were qualified would end up being left behind, he said, while pointing out that there were also some other allegations which “I feel were justified that the actual section process at the Commission had been compromised’.
With regards to the reconstitution of the commission whose life ended on August 31, he said that he had hoped by now it would have been in place. “I would not like to go into 2018 without that Commission being in place, so I expect it by the 31st of December”.
Granger had previously justified the directive saying that it was done in wake of complaints about the police.
A statement from the Ministry of the Presidency earlier this year had reported the President as saying that there have been many legitimate complaints by members of the PSC and aggrieved police officers of abuse and malpractice in the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and it is for this reason that he had asked for the promotion of police officers to be delayed.
“We are investigating the complaints, which have been made to us and we have asked the Police Service Commission to simply delay so that we can answer those queries and once those queries are satisfactorily answered we will proceed. It’s no intention on my part to impede the work of the Commission,” the President had said.
In August, attorney Anil Nandlall, a former Attorney General had filed a court action challenging a letter which contained the directive issued in the name of Granger. The letter was sent by Minister of State Joseph Harmon to the PSC’s Secretary on July 26 asking it to withhold work on the annual police promotions. Under the constitution, no such direction can be given.
The court has since ruled that the directive was unlawful and a blatant disregard for the Constitution.
This ruling is similar to an earlier judgment in 2015, when a court found that Minister Simona Broomes, then Junior Minister of Social Protection, unlawfully directed the Public Service Commission to suspend interviews to fill vacancies in her ministry.
Political analyst David Hinds has since said that ministerial directives to these two constitutional commissions were due to bad legal advice and he expressed belief that the government ought to be mindful of the political implications.