Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday expressed concern that President David Granger is yet to name his nominee or set a meeting to discuss the appointment of a substantive Police Commis-sioner.
“Why this lengthy delay? I just don’t understand,” Jagdeo said, while stressing that some time has passed since eight Assistant Police Commissioners were interviewed.
Jagdeo at the time was answering questions during his weekly press conference, which was held at his office.
He said that he has great difficulty in understanding why it is taking such a long time to name the prospective candidate and complete the consultation process. 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.
In April, Assistant Commissioners David Ramnarine, who is the acting police commissioner and considered the next in line for the 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 Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan.
Meanwhile, asked what he is looking for in a Commissioner, Jagdeo said that that such a person must have integrity and experience.
He reminded that while he was president he sought external expertise to choose his nominees and therefore sent four prospective candidates on an assessment course in the UK. At the end of this assessment, a report in which they were individually ranked was submitted to him. Jagdeo stated that former Commissioner Winston Felix, who received the highest rank, was his nominee and he thereafter submitted his name to the then opposition leader.
He made it known that whenever Granger declares his nominees, he will ask his questions. He said that at this moment he doesn’t need to do so.
Meanwhile, in a Facebook post earlier this week, former Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee listed eleven reasons why Ramnarine should not be the nominees.
Asked about this, Jagdeo made it clear that Rohee’s views do not necessarily reflect the views of the party.
He said that he has not seen the post before pointing out that the party is yet to officially discuss the issue. “What Rohee has posted, if he did that post, represents the views of Clement Rohee, the individual, not the view of the People’s Progressive Party or the Parliamentary Opposition,” he said.
He said that it would by hypocritical of him to “go through a parallel process” of identifying a favourite when he doesn’t have information about those in line for the position.
Historically, the appointee has been selected based on seniority. At the moment Ramnarine, is the most senior rank in the force.
At the swearing in of the members of the Police Service Commission, which is crucial to the appointment of a substantive commissioner, Granger had said that he was looking for someone who is “unbribable” and can steer the organisation in the right direction.
“Integrity is the most important and I am looking for intelligence and impartiality. I don’t give orders to the Commissioner of Police but I want somebody who is unbribable. I want somebody who is intelligent and want somebody who is committed to carrying out the programme of security sector reform who has the initiative and who can generate public trust. If I put somebody there who is not trustworthy… the public would laugh,” he had told reporters, when asked about some of the qualities he is looking for.
When asked if any of the eight possess the qualities he is searching for, Granger responded, “I am searching” before adding that he also has to get advice from the new commission.
“It is public knowledge that I did interview eight Assistant Commissioners, so I understand the field from which I have to choose and other jurisdictions in the Caribbean have invited officers from other countries like Britain and so on. I don’t intend to do that. I think we have the talent in Guyana [so] I intend to appoint a Guyanese but I am looking for somebody who has the intelligence, the impartiality and the integrity to hold such a position,” he had said.
He had stressed that Guyana needs such a person, “a commissioner who they can look up to and I expect that he is going to be supported by four deputy commissioners.”
Granger had informed that with the reconstitution of the commission and the appointment of retired Assistant Commissioner Paul Slowe as Chairman he will now have meaningful consultations with him and Jagdeo with respect to the substantive appointment, which he said will be done “as soon as practical.”