Granger, Jagdeo to meet today on Police Service Commission

-Opposition Leader opposed to proposed Chairman

File Photo: 2015 – President David Granger (right) with Opposition leader Bharrat Jagdeo at the Ministry of the Presidency.

President David Granger and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo are this morning scheduled to discuss the appointment of the Police Service Commission  (PSC) and Jagdeo said he will oppose the proposed Chairman.

It is believed that the President favours retired assistant police commissioner Paul Slowe as the Chairman.

It was Jagdeo who made the disclosure of the long-awaited meeting yesterday and he said he also plans to raise the issue of Guysuco’s $30B loan and other matters he thinks are of important national interest.  Also outstanding is the question of the substantive appointments of the Chancellor of the Judiciary and the Chief Justice.

“I will try to eke out a couple of the minutes to discuss a couple of the issues that I have big concerns about,” Jagdeo yesterday told a press conference.

He explained the reasons for his actions, “The reason I have to do this is because the opportunities are extremely rare when we meet, even though there are substantive and a large number of issues that have serious national consequences, because of his (Granger’s) reluctance to engage.”

The meeting is to be held at 11 this morning at State House but Jagdeo did not say who he will taking or who else will be at the meeting from government’s side.

Jagdeo said that he will also be enquiring on an issue that recently came up but would not go into detail with the press as he said that he wanted the President to first hear of his concern and be given the opportunity to address it.

With questions still unanswered on the $30B syndicated Bond that Guysuco has secured for its restructuring, the Opposition Leader said that he was making that issue public so as to also give the President time to gather the necessary information on the issue before the meeting. He wants to know from this country’s leader what safeguards the government has put in place to ensure the burden is not passed on to taxpayers and to gain a synopsis of the terms of the agreement directly from government. 

“The Guysuco bond will be one [issue] because I believe we are borrowing billions of dollars that will hurt taxpayers… I want to know if they have a phased plan for the borrowing. I will be asking about the plan and why this borrowing now. I believe that as a country, as taxpayers, that we would lose about a billion dollars a year,” he said.

And during the planned consultation, the Opposition Leader said he will tell the President that his choice for head of the Police Service Commission does not find favour with him. “I am now aware that the President has released the names of the people that he intends to consult with me on. Out of courtesy, I will not release those names today but will await those consultations to take place and then after the consultation I can speak again with the media about the discussions we would have had at those consultations. Tomorrow I will give a comment of my take on the consultations and some other matters I plan to raise with the President outside of the two issues he has invited me to consult on.

“I want to share with the President how I feel particularly (about), his nominee for Chairman of the Police Service Commission. The person is political. The person was doing political work for the APNU in the past elections, at the senior level. Through a constitutional body recently, he displayed a lack of fairness and now he is being put to head the Police Service Com-mission. I believe it is worrying because policemen, with that individual heading, will not be treated fairly,” he said.

This newspaper understands that the President is meeting with Jagdeo as is required consultatively so that the PSC could be swiftly appointed and thus pave the way for the appointing of a substantive Police Commissioner.

The Police Service Commission will be part of the consultative or notification process for appointing the commissioner.

Guyana’s Constitution states that the President can appoint a Commissioner of Police and Deputy Commissioners of Police only after consulting with the Opposition Leader and Chairperson of the Police Service Commission after the Chairperson has consulted with the other members of the Commission.

Granger has said that that a substantive Commissioner of Police cannot be appointed unless the PSC is reconstituted and the Opposition Leader is consulted and as such he was awaiting that process.

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 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.”

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