- Jagdeo writes to Granger

Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo late yesterday wrote to President David Granger requesting that he identify his nominee for Commissioner of Police before today’s consultation.

The two are scheduled to meet at 11 a.m. at State House to discuss the appointments in the hierarchy of the force based on a list of five names provided by the President.

The curriculum vitae (CV) of the five were provided by the President on Tuesday to Jagdeo and included Assistant Commissioners Nigel Hoppie, Maxine Graham, Paul Williams, Lyndon Alves and Leslie James.

Acting Police Commissioner David Ramnarine was notably absent from the list, an indication that perhaps he is not being considered for Top Cop or any of the four vacant Deputy Commissioner posts.

Jagdeo is contending that the President only supplied the CVs for the five and had not identified his choice for Commissioner. He explained that he wrote the President because he needed time to study the President’s nominee (for Commissioner).

“We wrote to the President because we do not want to be surprised during the meeting. The Constitution speaks to meaningful consultations on the appointment, but there is need for adequate time to consider the President’s nominee. Even if we get the name before the meeting tomorrow, it may not be enough time,” Jagdeo stated.

Article 211 (1) of the Constitution states that “The Commissioner of Police and every Deputy Commissioner of Police shall be appointed by the President, acting after meaningful consultation with the Opposition Leader and Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC) after the Chairperson has consulted with other members of the Commission”.

Earlier this month, Granger signaled intentions to commence the consultation process after swearing-in members of the PSC, including retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, Paul Slowe who serves 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 by ‘unbribable’ and 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.

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 consisted of the President along with Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan.

The eight included the five names provided by the President, Ramnarine and Assistant Commissioners Clifton Hicken and Marlon Chapman.

Granger is keen 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 in the force.

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.

Aside from Persaud and Ramnarine, the report identified Hicken and Senior Superintendent Wendell Blanhum as “the main protagonists,” who “lack the professionalism to lead the Force in this touted period of reform and transition.”

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