accused of engineering Police Force ‘shake-up’
… Opposition condemns machinations as akin to ‘Banana Republic’ leader
The imminent shake-up in the Guyana Police Force as promised by Head of State David Granger is nothing but a ploy to ensure and refashion the hierarchy of that critical institution, in order for its leadership and critical decision-making arms such as the Police Service Commission (PSC) to be subservient to the coalition Government in the future.
Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo on Wednesday made the damning observation based on Granger’s public pronouncements that he will in fact be reshuffling the hierarchy of the Police Force based on the recommendations of a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) that he had installed as against the recommendations of any extensive studies.
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) General Secretary gave his views during an engagement with media operatives at his Church Street Office on Wednesday, saying “increasingly we are taking on features of a banana republic, where the President, he does what he wants with impunity. The former President recalled that the Administration had indicated that it would not interfere with the work of the PSC but a directive handed down to that body has in fact stalled the work of the PSC.
According to Dr Jagdeo, the PSC succumbed to the pressures being mounted by the State and the life of that body has since come to an end, with new Commissioners to be installed by the President.
He drew reference to the fact that the CoI was set up by Granger to investigate a two-year-old threat, and called on the citizenry to “watch out for who will now form part of the new PSC.”
Dr Jagdeo said “I want to take you a wager that it will be people who will submit to the will of this Government.”
The former Head of State also used the opportunity to question “how can a President say I am going to shake-up a Police Force, I am going to reform this Police Force and use this as the basis for this reform and shake-up; and not a study.”
Dr Jagdeo pointed to several of the numerous studies that have been completed in the past, aimed at reforming the Force, including the British aided Reform Projects.
He reminded that during his tenure in office, some 50 cadet officers were trained and placed in the Guyana Police Force to strengthen middle level management in addition to projects such as the Citizen Security Programme aimed at reforming major sectors in addition to the Criminal Justice System project.
“It was not because Dr Jagdeo felt offended that the Police didn’t do something in relation to one of the cases he had.”
The Opposition Leader in reference to the utterances by Granger, noted that it was the President’s dissatisfaction with the investigations into a two-year old threat that has led to the current overtures to shake-up the Police Force.
“It all revolves around how he was treated, his personal investigation and not the long-term reports and studies… this is very, very worrying,” Dr Jagdeo declared.
President Granger signaled the imminent shakeup over the weekend, following his report of the findings of the Commission of Inquiry he had set up.
According to the President, the Commission had “made some very strong recommendations. Even persons who have been following the day-to-day reports would have realised that there has been a significant lapse in professionalism at the high levels of the Guyana Police Force, so these are matters of concern. It has brought to light some serious deficiencies and I am very confident that the work that Mr Russell Combe (British Security Expert) is doing will point to ways in which we can correct the deficiencies. The important thing is to ensure that we get information so that we can correct faults. It is not a witch-hunt. We are trying to make the law enforcement agencies more efficient.”
Dr Jagdeo insists, however, that the machinations of the President with regard the Police Force are more akin that of the leader of a banana republic.