Mas­sive witch-hunt in Po­lice Force

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po­si­tion Leader, Bhar­rat Jagdeo, has warned that a mas­sive witch hunt is about to take place in the Guyana Po­lice Force to fa­cil­i­tate com­pli­ance and dik­tat of the Of­fice of the Pres­i­dency.

“How can a Pres­i­dent say I am go­ing to shake up a po­lice force, I am go­ing to re­form a po­lice force and use as a ba­sis for this re­form, not a study (but this COI),” he said.

Jagdeo ar­gued that the COI can­not be cred­i­ble ba­sis to re­form the en­tire po­lice force – as the In­quiry only fo­cused on an in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­volv­ing the Pres­i­dent.

The Pres­i­dent or­dered a CoI into the po­lice han­dling of a com­plaint of a threat to kill him. The re­sult is that many key of­fi­cers in the force are be­ing tar­geted.

Al­ready, Crime Chief Wen­dell Blan­hum was sent on leave and based on past ex­pe­ri­ences with the APNU+ AFC Govern­ment, there is no guar­an­tee that his job will be wait­ing for him upon his re­turn. Jagdeo told re­porters dur­ing a press con­fer­ence yes­ter­day that the pro­nounce­ments by Pres­i­dent David Granger to “shakeup” the Force on the ba­sis on find­ings from the Com­mis­sion of In­quiry (COI) into a per­sonal mat­ter rep­re­sents a high level of ex­ec­u­tive law­less­ness.

“In this case, the Pres­i­dent is say­ing, ‘I am go­ing to shake up this whole po­lice force be­cause some­one made an al­le­ga­tion that they wanted to kill me and then in 2017, I put in place a Com­mis­sion of In­quiry and the Com­mis­sion of In­quiry found that there were de­fi­cien­cies in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of my mat­ter, my per­sonal mat­ter and that’s the rea­son for shak­ing up a po­lice force.’ This is only in a Ba­nana Repub­lic these things hap­pen,” he ex­plained.

He also high­lighted the Pres­i­dent’s di­rec­tive to the Po­lice Ser­vices Com­mis­sion (PSC) as an­other ex­am­ple of the Ex­ec­u­tive’s at­tempt to con­trol the law en­force­ment agen­cies of the coun­try.

“They said they had no in­ten­tion of in­ter­fer­ing with the work of the PSC but in ef­fect, that let­ter stalled the work. The Com­mis­sion has come to an end now and watch out for who will form part of the new PSC,” Mr. Jagdeo said, bet­ting that it will be af­fil­i­ates of the APNU+AFC coali­tion.

The Pres­i­dent’s in­struc­tion is al­ready be­ing chal­lenged in the High Court on the ba­sis that it is un­con­sti- tu­tional.

For­mer Min­is­ter of Home Af­fairs, Mr. Clement Ro­hee had also warned of a sin­is­ter mo­tive by the Govern­ment to in­stall its own peo­ple in the hi­er­ar­chy of the Force and noted that the COI is set­ting the stage for that change. He ex­pressed that the COI is be­ing used to tar­nish the rep­u­ta­tions of se­nior of­fi­cers so that the Govern­ment can use it as jus­ti­fi­ca­tion to in­sert their own peo­ple.

“A witch- hunt is pro­ceed­ing full speed ahead to get rid of cer­tain lead­ing ranks within the se­nior man­age­ment of GPF…This COI has been es­tab­lished in or­der for the govern­ment to achieve its ob­jec­tives to tar­get some ranks and you see it com­ing out clearly in the COI where cer­tain ranks are be­ing den­i­grated in their ca­pac­ity to deal with in­ves­ti­ga­tions,” Mr. Ro­hee high­lighted.

He also raised alarm bells of plans to dis­band cer­tain ma­jor branches and units of the Force and place more em­pha­sis on the Spe­cial Branch in or­der to spy on po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents.

State Min­is­ter, Joseph Har­mon has al­ready in­di­cated that Govern­ment will be re­or­ga­niz­ing the struc­ture of the Force.

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