Constables as well as Lance Corporal should be given awards

Dear Editor

Reports in the print and electronic media stated that on December 30, 2017 Lance Corporal 17310 Williams, Constables 23777 Blake, 23630 Prince and 20980 Hunte while on roadblock duty at Whim Public Road, Corentyne detained Deputy Superintendent Motie Dookie and a minibus driver for what they perceived to be the police officer and driver knowingly concerned in dealing with thirty cases of Johnny Walker whisky with intent to defraud the revenue of the duties thereof. This is an amazing course of action by the subordinate officer and three young constables. They have broken the well-established police code of silence. The code of silence encourages police not to speak up when they see another officer, more so their superior doing what they suspected was wrong. Let me be pellucid. It is only an allegation made against Dookie and the minibus driver. A person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Should not these ranks be rewarded for their bold if not unprecedented action in highlighting what they see as unethical behaviour and corruption among their ranks? Should in this instance their names be made public so that the public will know that there are some good and unbribable cops in the GPF?  I heard the plea from Minister Khemraj Ramjattan for Lance Corporal Williams to be promoted. That is excellent, but what about some reward for the constables. Certainly they were not passive bystanders. I was informed that the day after the arrest Lance Corporal Williams was promoted to corporal. He was among a list of over two hundred junior ranks promoted by the acting Commissioner. I am not certain whether or not his promotion was linked to the detention of the two persons and the seizure of the large amount of whisky alluded to above, or that his promotion was already in the pipeline. There is no mention of any award for the constables. Perhaps, (B) Division which will be holding its awards ceremony sometime this month for ranks who performed outstandingly during 2017 will reward them, or it will be done at Police Headquarters or both locations. When ranks commit breaches of the law, be it department or criminal we are quick to punish them in various forms. On the other side of the coin, we are slow to reward for outstanding work. The act of punishing and rewarding law enforcement officers must be swift, certain and appropriate if it is to achieve its desired objective.

Like Blanchard and Johnson ‒ The One Minute Manager (1981) ‒ I believe that both praise and reprimands can be effectively accomplished in one minute.

As the police strive to promote ethical behaviour and integrity they can be guided by the seven steps to prevent unethical behaviour and corruption recommended by McCarthy (2000): “(1) Recruit with great care. (2) Establish appropriate policies and put them in writing. (3) Adopt a good employee evaluation process. (4) Make sure your sergeants share management’s values and philosophies. (5) Develop operational controls. (6) Perform regular anti-corruption inspections and audits. And (7) implement ethics and integrity training into every training activity.”

McCarthy was writing for the Americans but those steps are equally applicable for the Guyana Police Force.

Yours faithfully,

Clinton Conway

Assistant Commissioner of Police (r’td)

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