swears-in PSC members; plans to appoint four deputy commissioners
President David Granger has signaled intentions to commence the consultation process with Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo and the Police Service Commission (PSC) for the appointment of a new Commissioner of Police.
The President made the disclosure yesterday at State House after swearing-in members of the PSC, with retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, Paul Slowe as Chairman.
Speaking with reporters following the ceremony, the President indicated that he was still searching for a top cop, and ruled out recruiting an overseas candidate. He said the appointee must possess qualities of the ‘three Is’ – integrity, 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 I want somebody who is committed to carrying out the programmes of security sector reform, who has the initiative, and who can generate public trust,” Granger stated.
The President noted that the Commissioner must also command the trust of subordinates and the wider public.
“If I put somebody there who is not trustworthy the public would laugh,” the President stated.
Slowe said he plans to meet with the PSC members to review the potential candidates for Commissioner.
“It is not a one-man decision, but we will look for someone who is competent; someone who can command the respect of the members of the force and the public. People must have confidence in the person. I think those are the two main things I will look for,” Slowe stated.
The other PSC members are Chairman of the Public Service Commission, Michael Somersall, Vesta Adams, Clinton Conway and Claire Jarvis.
The search for a new top cop commenced when Seelall Persaud retired in February.
Back in April, eight Assistant Commissioners participated in a process at the Ministry of the Presidency that included a written test and interviews by a panel that included the President along with Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan.
Among the eight were acting Police Commissioners David Ramnarine, Clifton Hicken, Leslie James, Paul Williams, Lyndon Alves, Nigel Hoppie, Marlon Chapman and Maxine Graham.
“I understand the field from which I have to choose. Other jurisdictions in the Caribbean have invited officers from other countries like Britain and so on. I do intend to appoint a Guyanese,” the President assured.
He announced plans to fill the four positions of Deputy Commissioner. The force’s structure provides for four deputy commissioners, but for a number of years, these have been vacant. Granger explained that this has affected morale.
Prior to Persaud’s departure, the force faced a scathing report from the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the alleged assassination plot against the President. The CoI, headed by Slowe, recommended that Persaud should be made to resign his position as Commissioner under such terms and conditions that the President considered appropriate.
Persaud faced turbulent times at the head of the force which was highlighted by a public rift with Ramnarine. The rift had reached the level of Cabinet and was pointed out in the CoI report.
There were objections to Slowe’s appointment to the PSC from the opposition, who cited ‘baggage’, including the fact that he now has to oversee the appointment of officers named in the CoI report.