…but attacks Ramnarine’s comments
Home Affairs Minister, Clement Rohee, has reacted strongly to statements made by Assistant
Commissioner, David Ramnarine, and the apparent support he has received from a section of the political divide on the matter involving the highly contentious $90M that was allocated to the Guyana Police Force for last year’s elections duties.
However, despite his assertions against Ramnarine’s revelations, the Minister failed to address the substantive issue of how the money was disbursed.
Instead he went on to lecture officers of the force that they should not wash their dirty laundry in public, further fueling the speculation that all is not above board with the police elections fund.
Ramnarine had raised eyebrows when he went on record stating that he did not receive a cent from the Guyana Police Force to look after the welfare of the ranks under his command.
Ramnarine, who was at the time of the elections, Commander of the Force’s Interior Division, claimed that he was forced to rely heavily on the support of the business community to feed his ranks.
In fact, it took the Police Force almost two weeks to respond to the allegations that the money was misappropriated.
In a statement from its Eve Leary Headquarters, the Force had detailed how the money was disbursed to the various divisions including the interior division, where Ramnarine presided. But Ramnarine still maintained that he “never received a cent”.
The Home Affairs Minister is “very concerned about Ramnarine’s breach of the Force’s Standing Order”, stating that Commanders of the Guyana Police Force must take full responsibility when, as a result of their breaching the Standing Orders, the issues they pursue publicly becomes politically controversial resulting in the Force being put unnecessarily on trial publicly.
His outspokenness has certainly irked the Minister who in a statement issued yesterday referred to the Force’s Standing Order which prohibits certain officers from publicly expressing their views on what transpires within the organisation.
He warned that in the current situation, officers may become transformed into political tools of those who pretend to be friends of the force, and who at the same time seek to besmirch the integrity of their fellow colleagues in the organisation.
According to Standing Order 38(a) of the Guyana Police Force, the Assistant Commissioner Law Enforcement can issue statements on criminal matters; the Traffic Chief deals with traffic matters while the Public Relations and Press Officer deals with all releases with reference to other matters.
“In every case, the releases must be approved by the Commissioner of Police.”
According to the Home Affairs Minister, every member of the force without exception is duty bound to honour the Standing Orders of the organisation.
“The worst that can happen is for a Senior Rank of the Guyana Police Force to honour the Standing Orders in the breach and to declare publicly that he is free to do so. Such an act is unpardonable and must be rejected,” Rohee stated.
He added that this posture is bound to send the wrong signal to subordinate ranks within the organisation as well to the criminal elements in society.
“The Standing Orders are for all without exception. It is a long established principle that the example must be set from the top.”
The Alliance For Change (AFC) party had come out in support of Ramnarine with party executive member, Moses Nagamootoo, warning that any attempt at sanctions against Ramnarine for his public disclosures would be an act against all honest and decent-minded Guyanese.
Judging from the Home Affairs Minister’s recent comments, another major source of concern is the reaction of the opposition party.
Rohee in his statement said that it has long been established that opposition political parties and sections of the media have for one reason or another adopted a hostile, non-supportive and biased stand towards the Guyana Police Force.
“Over the years there has not been a single issue which the political opposition nor the opposition media have either supported or congratulated the Guyana Police Force for. On the contrary, every effort has been made to denigrate, down play or totally ignore the successes which the GPF has scored from time to time in its efforts to fight crime. Thus, Commanders of the Force must take into account these factors when contemplating going public on matters of internal interest to the organisation,” Rohee declared.
He added that in today’s context, any violation of the Standing Orders of the Guyana Police Force must be seen as supportive of the prevailing thrust of the political opposition as well as the opposition media.
He said that there are long established internal procedures within the Guyana Police Force to address any concern ranks may have and to ignore these internal procedures and to opt to publicly parade the issue in the name of “transparency” and “accountability” is to act in a manner inimical to the interests of the Guyana Police Force.
“It is apposite to note that the Commander involved in the current brouhaha absented himself for the entire duration of the recently concluded Police Officers’ Conference on the grounds that he was “sick” and had “nothing new to learn” from the organisation which was instrumental in making him become the “qualified and educated Police Officer” he claims to be. The Commander of ‘C’ Division must be fully aware of the political implications of his actions not to mention his êntre into the political arena now that the political opposition has opportunistically taken up his cudgels,” Rohee stated.
He said that to defend the officer’s violation of the Police Standing Orders is a clear indication of the Opposition’s predisposition to encourage lawlessness, indiscipline and total disrespect for long standing protocols within the Guyana Police Force.
“The Ministry of Home Affairs denounces these unsavoury tactics and wishes to make it clear to those who seek to promote such acts of indiscipline within the Guyana Police Force (GPF) that they will not succeed. As the government agency with oversight responsibility for the Guyana Police Force, the Ministry of Home Affairs will continue in its efforts to promote professionalism, ethical and high standards of behavior and performance by ranks within the Guyana Police Force. Senior Ranks of the Force must exercise good judgment and avoid being drawn publicly under the pretext of being ‘fearless’ and ‘outspoken’ into matters which have the potential of ballooning into political controversies,” the Home Affairs Minister said yesterday.
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I have been doing columns since 1988. I have been a major columnist with the Catholic Standard, Stabroek News, Kaieteur... more