Granger: Top Cop appointment awaiting service commission, consultations

President David Granger

President David Granger said on Thursday that a substantive Commissioner of Police (COP) cannot be appointed unless the Police Service Commission (PSC) is reconstituted and the Opposition Leader is consulted.

“The process cannot be completed until the Police Service Commission is appointed”, he said when asked by Stabroek News for an update on the eagerly awaited appointment. Asked how soon, the appointment can be made, he responded, “Well again I have to resort to consultation with the Leader of the Opposition and the Chairman of the Public Service Commission also has to be appointed”.

On April 26, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee of Appointments, Dr. George Norton laid a report before the National Assembly in which retired assistant commissioners Paul Slowe, Clinton Conway, Vesta Adams and Claire Jarvis were listed as the nominees for the PSC. The life of the PSC came to an end in August last year.

According to the report, the nominated persons were unanimously approved by the Members of the Committee during the April 11, 2018 meeting. This retirees were chosen by the Police Association, the Association of Former Members of the Guyana Police Force, the National Community Policing Executive and the Guyana Association of Professional Social Workers (GAPSW).  GAPSW was consulted after it ascertained that the National Commission on Law and Order, which had been previously consulted, was no longer functioning.

Each entity was invited to nominate suitable persons but only the Police Association and the Association of Former Members of the Guyana Police Force responded.

Article 210 (1) (C) of the Constitution states that the commission shall be comprised of “four members appointed by the President upon nomination by the National Assembly after it has consulted such bodies as appear to it to represent the majority of the members of the Police Force and any such body it deems fit.”

It is expected that when the National Assembly meets again on May 11 that the report will be adopted by the House, thereby paving the way for the appointment of the four nominees.

Several weeks ago Granger started a process to identify which of the eight Assistant Commissioners of Police (ACPs) will be his nominee for the top cop post.

Assistant Commission-ers, David Ramnarine, who is the acting police commissioner and considered the next in line for the top post, Clifton Hicken, Leslie James, Lyndon Alves, Marlon Chapman, Paul Williams, Nigel Hoppie and Maxine Graham were interviewed by a panel which included the President and Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan. The interview which included a written component was held at the Ministry of the Presidency.

This newspaper has since learnt that the results for the written component are in and that these will be closely examined by the president. The lone female, Graham, this newspaper was told is among those who have excelled.

Concerns have been raised about the length of time it was taking for the top appointment to be made especially since former COP, Seelall Persaud reached the age of retirement in February and the life of the PSC came to an end more than eight months ago.

Shortly before its life ended, the commission was instructed by the president to halt its considerations of police promotions. The names of several senior officers were noticeably absent from the list, which had been compiled by Persaud. Granger had justified his actions by stating that letters of complaints and an apparent compromised nomination process caused him to intervene.

Historically, the top cop appointee has been selected based on seniority. Speculation is now rife as to whether or not the president’s choice to replace Persaud will follow such a principle.

Under the Bharrat Jagdeo administration two assessments of the top four ranks of the force were done before Winston Felix was chosen and later appointed Police Commis-sioner in 2004. Felix who retired in 2006 is the Minister of Citizenship in the current administration.