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President still defaulting on commitment to name PSC members

first_imgAfter missing December deadlineBack in mid-December, President David Granger had promised to have the names of the new members of the Police Service Commission (PSC) made public before the end of 2017; however, there has been no such announcement.The life of the previous Commission expired in September last year and the Head of State had told reporters at a press conference last month that he was reviewing names and would make a decision before the year ended.President David GrangerEfforts to contact Government’s spokesperson, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, to ascertain whether the members have indeed been shortlisted and when their names would be revealed proved futile. However, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan told <<>> on Sunday that while he was aware that a list of names was submitted to the President, he could not say whether those names have been shortlisted.“I don’t have all the names with me and I’m in no position to say (if they were shortlisted); that would he a presidential appointment and so he will deal with that like every other commission,” the Public Security Minister stated.At last month’s press conference, the Head of State posited that while he would have wanted to see the new PSC already in place, things did not go as planned. However, he asserted that the year would not end without the body being re-established.“I expect that by December 31, the appointments would be made,” the President had told reporters.Meanwhile, before the life of the last PSC ended, the Head of State had ordered in July that it put a hold on the consideration of senior ranks’ promotions for 2017.According to acting Police Commissioner David Ramnarine, this situation has caused some uneasiness among members of the Force, including the junior ranks.“It was important; it was absolutely necessary that these junior ranks be promoted because there was an air that with the Service Commission and senior ranks not being promoted, some (junior ranks) were beginning to become a little bit stressed that they too will not get promoted,” he stated. The Police Force promoted a total of 204 junior ranks at the end of December.Nevertheless, Ramnarine, at a press conference earlier this month, urged that the PSC be re-constituted as soon as possible, noting that the number of senior ranks within the Force was dwindling.“We may appear to be a bit scarce in the senior ranks (category) and that is because last year alone we lost 13 senior ranks by way of retirement – including three Assistant Commissioners, Senior Superintendents and Superintendents – and this year, some four (ranks will retire). In fact, in a few days, one is going to go off, then shortly after another one and shortly after another one, then later on in the year, another one. So, we eagerly await the work of the new Police Service Commission when that would have come on stream,” Ramnarine posited.However, President Granger had also justified his decision to halt the promotion of officers. Despite a court order stating that the Government had acted unconstitutionally, Granger maintained that he had good cause for stopping the promotions.“Deserving persons were being superseded. One letter writer claimed that there had been no internal procedure for nominating officers. It is the convention that the Commissioners would convene a committee of the most senior officers to nominate persons. This had not been done,” he explained at the December press conference.According to Granger, he determined that there was a danger that persons who were not qualified would be recommended for promotion, while others more deserving would end up being left behind.“In addition to that, there were other allegations — which I felt were justified — that the actual selection process was compromised. So, taken as a whole, I felt that the integrity of the process was compromised, and that it would not be in the public’s interest to proceed with those nominations,” he explained.On November 22, 2017, in a court ruling in regard to the halting of promotions, acting Chief Justice Roxane George established that the President did breach the Constitution when he issued the directive to halt promotions.Minister Harmon, in a letter dated July 27, 2017, had written to the PSC informing that the President had directed that there be no consideration of promotion for members of the Guyana Police Force until further notice, and that this directive should be implemented immediately.In August, former PSC Chairman Omesh Satyanand had made that known, after a meeting with the other Commissioners, it was decided that the order to halt all promotions until further notice would be adhered to.The PSC Chairman had, however, expressed concern that halting the entire promotion process would be a blow to senior officers, and had noted that those officers had invested time and energy in building a career in the Guyana Police Force and were expecting their just reward.Noting that this was the first time a sitting president had issued such a directive to the PSC, he had called for some clarity with regard to the situation, and justification of the circumstances that had led to the making of such a decision.A perusal of the PSC’s list of personnel to be promoted had revealed that among those who were scheduled to be promoted were several senior officers who had been hauled before the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the alleged assassination plot against President Granger.Among the personnel were: Assistant Police Commissioner Clifton Hicken, who was tipped to be promoted to Deputy Commissioner of Police, and former Crime Chief, Senior Superintendent Wendell Blanhum, who had been lined up for promotion to Assistant Commissioner.Head of Special Branch, Brian Eastman was also listed to become a Senior Superintendent of Police, while Head of Major Crimes, Assistant Superintendent Mitchell Caesar had been recommended for promotion to Deputy Superintendent.last_img

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