Rules were not followed when submitting names for police promotions to PSC

Dear Editor,

Recently I wrote a letter to the press supporting President David Granger’s directive to the Police Service Commission to put on hold promotions for police officers (‘President’s letter to Police Service Commission was appropriate’ SN, August 10). Since then there have been diverse reactions in the print and electronic media and elsewhere, including a letter written by Harry Gill which appeared in the Kaieteur News and Stabroek News (‘Conway has a problem with interpretation of the law’, August 10). I feel that Mr Gill’s letter is a subtle attempt to belittle my character and integrity. It is riddled with inaccuracies, irrelevancies and contains a massive dose of unadulterated piffle.

Mr Gill quoted section 226 (1) of the Guyana Constitution and referred to an article written by a law student to indicate that the directive of the President was unconstitutional. For his edification he should read a recent letter in the press written by Maxwell Edwards supporting the action by the President. Let the legal luminaries argue the finer points of the constitution.

Surprisingly, Mr Gill did not pronounce on a letter written by the Commissioner of Police to the Police Service Commission recommending several police officers for promotion. The well-established rules of engagement in relation to discussing promotions and submitting names of officers for promotion was not followed. The SOP set out in the Police Standing Orders requires that the Senior Promotion Board which is chaired by the Commissioner of Police meet and discuss promotions and then send a list of ranks recommended for promotion to the PSC. This was blatantly disregarded.

The board was not fully constituted. A few officers met, held discussions and submitted the list to the PSC. The number two man in the Force who is a senior member of the board was not invited to be involved in the discussion. He knew of the list through the social media; believe it or not, it is a fact. The list contained several supersessions. Assistant Commissioners of Police Clifton Hicken and Nigel Hoppie were recommended for promotion to Deputy Commissioners, thereby superseding Assistant Commissioner David Ramnarine who is five and seven years respectively their senior. I know Hicken and Hoppie well. I do not doubt their ability to perform at the next level but not at the expense of David Ramnarine without justification.

Ramnarine is presently acting commissioner. He has performed the role with efficiency and effectiveness on several occasions. Ramnarine joined the Force as a constable. He successfully completed the Standard Military Officers Course conducted by the Guyana Defence Force. He held many junior and senior command posts in the GPF and for some time now has been the number two man on the job. He attended numerous training courses both locally and overseas. He successfully completed with distinction the Public Safety and Security Diploma conducted by the University of Guyana. Yet, officers several years his junior with lesser experience and competence were recommended to supersede him without any known good reason. By the way, the rank of Deputy Commissioner is not a promotion. It is not within the ambit of the PSC. It is a political appointment. It is a purely a presidential appointment.

The list contains more supersessions. Some of the officers recommended for promotion are subject to disciplinary inquiry and in one case criminal investigation. A few recommended for promotions are not yet fit and proper to operate at the next level. Believe me, I know them. The above are some of the reasons why the President was correct to direct that the promotions be put on hold.

He did not direct who should or should not be promoted. He pressed the pause button in the interest of justice and fair play for all the members of the GPF. In some cases the President has been accused of slow marching in terms of decision making. What do you want him to do if he is aware of the fundamentally flawed list of recommended promotions sent to the PSC? If he is aware that the constitutional procedure was not put in place for the promotions to be effective? Do you want the President to sit on his hands and be passive or do you want him to make authoritative and constitutional decisions? He moved in quick time. He took swift, certain and appropriate action to abort a travesty of justice by directing the PSC to put the recommended list of promotions of officers on hold. Not surprisingly the PSC which has an attorney- at-law as its member complied with the directive. The President’s action was not unconstitutional. I agree with him. This will be my only response to Mr Gill. I need to use my time for better things.

Yours faithfully,

Clinton Conway

Assistant Commissioner of

Police (r’td)

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