Written by Demerara Waves
Friday, 02 September 2011
Police Commissioner, Henry Greene
Western Nations had threatened to withhold key security cooperation fromGuyana because they could not trust Henry Greene as Police Commissioner due to his alleged links with the drug underworld and inability to protect sensitive information.
“Greene’s new position will have consequences on foreign assistance involving the GPF,” Charge D’Affaires, Michael Thomas said in a July 24 cable that was Wiki-leaked late Thursday night.
The cable from the American embassy here questioned Greene’s confidentiality and labeled him as “crooked” and “grossly incompetent” when he was Crime Chief.
“He is unwilling or unable to protect sensitive information or to fulfill straightforward extradition requests. Greene as Commissioner would be bad for Guyana’s security and would compromise all international cooperation with the Guyana Police Force.
Greene, whose American diplomatic and tourist visas were revoked in days leading up to his July 24, 2006 appointment as acting commissioner has already publicly denied benefiting from the proceeds of drugs. None of the cables released so far has disclosed specific cases of Greene’s alleged criminal activities.
US laws bar the American government from releasing reasons for visa revocations or denials to third parties like the media. But one of the cables says Greene cried when he was told that his visa was being revoked on July 20, 2006 because of information gathered by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
“Greene broke into tears when informed of this, fearing the embarrassment the revocation will cause, and denied involvement with drug trafficking. He expressed surprise that the revocation was not due to his “troubling the girls”,” the cable states.
One of the cables noted that the DEA had given specific language to inform President Jagdeo that the Greene had benefited from drug funds. “U.S. law enforcement has reliable reports from multiple sources that Henry Greene has benefited from, and continues to benefit from, the proceeds of drug trafficking.”
The cables reveal a flurry of shuttle-diplomacy by the American, British, Canadian and European Union envoys here to Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Roger Luncheon and President Bharrat Jagdeo to “head off Greene’s appointment before his swearing-in within the next few days.”
The cable titled “GOG picked crooked police chief despite revoked visa” states that due to Greene’s appointment the US is not pushing ahead with a plan to establish a DEA vetted anti-narcotics unit under Greene’s commissionership. Moves by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to install a gun-trace computer terminal to help the GPF track firearms had been also pulled back.
Similarly, British High Commissioner, Fraser Wheeler had told President Bharrat Jagdeo thrice between July 21 and 24 that the UKgovernment had “concerns about Greene’s elevation” and pre-2006 election training for the police force would have been quashed. The Canadian High Commissioner also told Charge that his government will cease all cooperation with the police if the Greene appointment goes through, states the cable.
But in another cable titled ‘Police Commissioner Greene: Give us Barabas’, then Ambassador David Robinson credited Greene with better dealing with street crimes and that the United States would eventually have to work with the police force under his stewardship.
“Henry Greene is corrupt but he is more effective than his predecessor in controlling the streets. The president is happy in the role of Pontius Pilate and is betting that the donors ultimately will work out some accommodation with the commissioner. He is probably right. We will not rehabilitate Greene, but we will have to cooperate with his police force if he becomes permanent,’ states Robinson in the cable.
The US, according to the cables, appeared upset that Jagdeo and Luncheon had lured the diplomatic community into believing that once Greene’s visa had been revoked his appointment would have been reconsidered.
“This contradicts what he told Charge — that revoking Greene’s visa would give the GoG cover to back down. Luncheon and Jagdeo have been disingenuous throughout this episode, especially in protesting they were unaware of our concerns about Greene,”
Jagdeo had told diplomats that he had been under intense political pressure to stick with Greene but, according to one of the cables “the source of this pressure is unclear.”
The cables released quote the Ambassador as alleging that Greene was linked criminal activities. “Greene’s name appears repeatedly in reporting by various USG agencies in connection with criminal activities,” he said.
The ambassador had told government officials that the US government could not have provided details but “it would be very embarrassing for the GoG if a sitting Police Commissioner were indicted in a foreign court.”
Then Home Affairs Minister, Gail Teixeira, described as the “voice of reason” in the Guyana government had described to diplomats “in some detail her struggles to get Jagdeo and Luncheon to come around to her point of view” concerning Greene.