Are the police interviewing suspects or interrogating them?

Dear Editor,

I attended numerous sessions of the Commission of Inquiry into the alleged threat to assassinate His Excellency, Brigadier David Granger, President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana presently being  conducted by Paul Slowe, retired Assistant Commissioner of Police. I listened keenly to the contrasting testimony of the number one to three senior officers of the Guyana Police Force, the Crime Chief, his Deputy, the Head of the Major Crimes Unit, several other police ranks and civilians. At times I got the distinct impression that some of the persons were not really testifying. I listened for one word in the testimony of the investigators – interrogate. I did not hear it. Hope the transcripts will prove me wrong. Instead, I heard the words opinion and suggestion being used instead of order, instruct, command or even direct. The word interview keeps ringing in my ears as it was mentioned frequently during the hearing. Is it that the police are interviewing suspects instead of interrogating them? I am wondering if the police are afraid that when they interrogate suspects they will breach the Judge’s Rules or more so they will come into conflict with their own training manual on Human Rights in Policing. If law enforcement officers are to conduct effective investigations into major crimes including a threat to kill the President and the word interrogate does not come out readily to mind or is not uttered, well then, the investigations will be prosaic. Shocking issues and concerns emerging from the CoI left me with the indelible impression of their potential to not only rock the foundation but the apex of discipline in the GPF. No wonder there was a call for an inquiry.

Please permit me to mention that the chairman has been conducting the inquiry in a truly professional manner even though the Leader of the Opposition described him as a junior officer who is inquiring into matters involving the commissioner of police and other senior officers and that he has to deal with a battery of eminent attorneys-at-law including a former Chief Justice. Those who know Paul Slowe and worked with him will tell you about his professionalism. I eagerly await the conclusion of the inquiry and the Slowe report.

Yours faithfully

Clinton Conway

Assistant Commissioner of

Police (Retired)

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