Police satisfied with action taken on Rohee’s “kick ass” statement
Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee is again castigating the Kaieteur News; this time he is
accusing the newspaper of trying to drive a wedge between his ministry and the Guyana Police Force.
The main issue is his “kick ass” statement which was made at a recent Community Policing Workshop, and the police’s response to it.
The minister had told the workshop that he intends to shift gears in his recently renewed tenure as the person politically responsible for the country’s internal security and he used some strong language to describe how he intends to achieve this.
“These five years, I intend to kick ass…to put it bluntly…because I know people waiting outside there to kick my ass,” the Home Affairs Minister had stated.
He went on to issue a stern warning which was directly pointed at the Guyana Police Force.
“The police haven’t really seen me get upset as yet, but in this new term I intend to get upset…because after this new term, that’s it for me,” Rohee had declared.
This was met with an equally strong response from some senior officers of the police force who expressed their disappointment at the Minister’s “uncalled for” outbursts.
“We met …and we were all perturbed about the Minister’s statements. For years, policemen have been putting their lives on the line to ensure that there is peace, although we are underpaid. And this tongue lashing from the minister using indecent language is uncalled for,” one angry officer had told this newspaper.
The minister is of the view that the newspaper has been on a campaign which involves the concocting of stories that are contrived to mislead the public in general “and in this case, ranks of the Guyana Police Force.”
But it is the minister who is fueling the flames of a rift especially since the police in an official statement on the matter said it considers it closed.
“The Force Administration subsequently discussed these concerns with higher Government authorities and is satisfied with the response given and actions taken in the matter. The Guyana Police Force wishes to make it clear that the Force has no ongoing issue with the Honourable Minister of Home Affairs in relation to the statements made and considers the matter closed,” the police statement said.
The minister in defending his position and statements said that in his remarks at the workshop he had pointed out that “I know that because of the positions I adopted as a Minister of Government since 1992, there are people “out there” who are waiting to kick my ass and that I intend to kick ass knowing this to be the case.”
He said that the statement was directed at the critics (“people out there”) of Government’s policies on Security and Public Order and was not particularlized to the Guyana Police Force in any way whatsoever “as the Kaieteur News sought to mischievously make out.”
“People out there is quite different and not the same as ranks of the Guyana Police Force,” Rohee noted.
But the minister in his statement did refer to the Guyana Police Force as was quoted by this newspaper.
He referred to comments made by former Commissioner of Police Winston Felix during his contribution to the 2012 Budget Debate in the National Assembly, “Bribery and corruption were rampant features in the Guyana Police Force”
The Home Affairs Minister accused the Kaieteur News of declining to solicit comments from the police on Felix’s remarks, which he said could be considered more damaging to the image of the Force than his statement.
“But the Kaieteur News has a political agenda vis-à-vis the Government of Guyana and this episode demonstrates another attempt to cause division and confusion within the ranks of the Guyana Police Force.”
This newspaper however did not solicit any comment from members of the Force. In fact, it was the members themselves who sought to have their concerns addressed by this newspaper following the publication of the Minister’s insensitive remarks both in the print and electronic media.
Despite his direct referral to the police in his speech, the Minister said on Tuesday, “I strongly deny any assertion or allegation that I used threats against any Police Officer or members of the Force on the day in question or on any other occasion. While it is true that I may have had differences of opinion with the Police from time to time, those matters have always been resolved amicably with the interest of this country being uppermost in our minds.”
He said that the Ministry of Home Affairs remains, as it has always been, committed to working with the Guyana Police Force to keep at the highest level possible, the safety and security of the citizens of Guyana.