Massive witch-hunt in Police Force
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.