The last thing that this editorial wants to be seen to be doing is making a judgement call on a sensitive administrative decision made by the Guyana Police Force in circumstances where we may not have in our possession all of the requisite rationale (beyond that which has been publicly stated by the Acting Commissioner of Police) for the action though, taking account of the context and what we know, we have opted to make use of our right to comment on the particular issue.
In its December 31 2017 issue, Stabroek News reported that a police disclosure had stated that investigations were ensuing into an incident in which, on the previous evening, a minibus had been stopped on the Whim Public Road and that apart from the minibus driver and thirty cases of undeclared/smuggled whisky the other occupant of the vehicle was the Commander of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Unit, Deputy Superintendent Motie Dookie. Deputy Super-intendent Dookie reportedly told the police that stopped the minibus that it was transporting ten cases of whisky (the police afterwards determined that the minibus in fact contained thirty cases of whisky) to be used at a party. More than that, it appeared that the SWAT Unit Comman-der who works out of the Brickdam Police Station had no official calling on the Whim Public Road at the time.
A few days later it was reported in another section of the media that Deputy Superintendent Dookie had said that he knew nothing about the thirty cases of whisky. In effect, it appeared that he had changed his story. Nothing, as far as we know, was said about Deputy Superintendent Dookie’s presence in the vehicle on the Whim Public Road, in the company of the whisky, though the obvious implication of the new version of events was that it was the driver of the vehicle and not the Deputy Superintendent that had to account for what appeared to be an open and shut case.
Two other points should be made here. The first is that Deputy Superintendent Dookie has since been replaced as Head of the SWAT Unit. Secondly, Deputy Superintendent Dookie, who, in the wake of the whisky incident, proceeded on earned vacation leave, was just recently returned to the job and posted to the Force’s A Division as the No. Two Sub-Divisional Officer.
The matter of the whisky and Deputy Superintendent Dookie’s involvement or otherwise therein is still, according to Acting Police Commissioner David Ramnarine, under investigation. The report carried in the Stabroek News of Thursday May 10 quoted the Acting Com-missioner as saying (and, obviously, we agree with him) that the Deputy Superintendent is entitled to “due process” though that is hardly the issue here. What was implied by the Commissioner of Police in his remarks was that the dispensation of “due process” must await the materialization of a new Police Service Commission (whenever that may be). We understand too that Deputy Super-intendent Dookie was also expected to be charged with a disciplinary infraction under Chapter 17:01 of the Police Discipline Act…so that it appears from the perspective of the GPF’s high command that the Deputy Superintendent still remains under a cloud, to say the least.
At this juncture and taking account of both the minibus driver’s ‘owning up’ to knowledge of the whisky and the Acting Commissioner’s point about “due process” we will venture no further than to state that, at the very least, Deputy Superintendent Dookie has some considerable explaining to do, including why on earth would a Deputy Super-intendent of Police holding a highly sensitive position in the policing establishment, be the sole passenger in a minibus in which thirty cases of whisky are being transported. Is he seriously asking us to believe that he had no clue as to the vehicle’s cargo?
Now we are being told that having been replaced as Head of the SWAT Unit (is his removal not, in itself, indicative of a ‘judgement’ already having been made in the whisky smuggling matter) and even before the full inquiry has been completed, Deputy Superintendent Dookie has returned to work in a senior administrative position in the Force’s A Divi-sion. Surely, and while one is hardly unmindful of the Acting Commissioner’s point about the shortage of policemen of senior rank, must the Force not be mindful too of the likely effectiveness (or lack thereof) of Deputy Superintendent Dookie, to say nothing about possible further erosion of the Force’s less than pristine image, if, under a cloud as he remains, he is allowed to return to the Force in a position of obvious authority.
As for the issue of the protracted failure of a new Police Service Commission to materialize, however unacceptable and frustrating as that may be, it ought not to serve as an excuse to impose yet another compromising situation on a Police Force which even the government itself concedes, currently finds itself in a decidedly unacceptable state at this time. There may be nothing in the rules and regulations to keep Deputy Superintendent Dookie off the job and the observation by the Acting Police Commissioner regarding the relatively recent departure of a number of relatively officers may well be correct, though what is also true is that having an officer directly involved in an investigation into the alleged smuggling of alcohol serving in what is, in effect, a management position in the Force, does the image of the Force sorry little good. The thing to do is to hasten the progress of the probe and declare its outcome quickly so that a definitive position can be reached on Mr. Dookie’s fitness to continue to serve and protect rather than simply put him back on the job now, a decision which, in itself, may portend the dragging out of the investigation.