Assistant Commissioner Leslie Albert James has been named as the new Commissioner of Police, with his appointment taking immediate effect.
President David Granger named James as the new commissioner following consultations with the Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo at State House this morning.
A statement from the Ministry of the Presidency said Granger also announced that James will be supported by four deputy commissioners: Lyndon Alves, Maxine Graham, Nigel Hoppie and Paul Williams. Their appointments are also with immediate effect.
According to the statement, President Granger said that the four deputies will be responsible for four areas of the force: Operations, Administration, Law Enforcement and Special Branch/ Intelligence.
“My intention is that the four deputies will be responsible for various aspects of the Police Force, for example, Operations, Administration, Law Enforcement and Special Branch or Intelligence. What we have done today is we have not only appointed a Police Commissioner but we have also improved the architecture of the Police Force so that instead of having a flat structure, we now have clearly defined responsibilities in those four deputy commissioners. So, things will be better. I am sure there will be better performance in those areas and other officers can now look forward to, in due course, filling those appointments. It will help to enhance the specialisation of the Police Force. It will help to spur the career mobility of officers and I am convinced that the efficiency of the Police Force as a whole will be enhanced,” he was quoted as saying.
“I was not interested in having a foreigner head the Guyana Police Force. I felt that we had local talent. I think the process has resulted in the best five being selected to lead the force and I will be meeting later today with the Commissioner and deputy commissioners. I think this is the best outcome and they are all fit and proper persons to lead the Police Force,” he added.
President Granger had earlier this month said that his choice for substantive Police Commissioner would be 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 told reporters, when asked about some of the qualities he is looking for.
When asked if any of the eight candidates possessed the qualities he was searching for, Granger said he was searching before adding that he also had to get advice from the new Police Service 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 said.
He 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.” He stressed that Guyana has not had so many Deputy Commissioners for a long time and as a result the hierarchy of the force has been “flat. Everyone is of the same rank and of course that created morale problems. Everybody wants to rise to the top.”