Disastrous Police anniversary month ends
- still no promotions
July 2012: It was supposed to be a month of celebration, but instead the 173rd anniversary month turned out to be a disastrous one for the Guyana Police Force.
It started excellently with one of the biggest parades through the city but it ended with the Police Force facing one of its biggest challenges within recent decades-a challenge newly appointed Commissioner of Police (acting) Leroy Brumell would have loved to avoid.
Many had thought that with the end of the Henry Greene era which was marred by controversy and explosive disclosures, the Guyana Police Force would have been breathing cleaner, fresher air.
However, judging from recent events, the air appears very stifling, similar to that which permeated during the 2002-2008 crime wave.
During the month of July, the Force lost one of its own to a tragic accident, shot three protestors at Linden, while bypassing the much anticipated promotion of its ranks.
At a time when public confidence was returning somewhat to the law enforcement body, the turn of events last month left many wondering if the Police Force was deliberate in digging its own grave.
The events at Linden surely sum up the month for the Guyana Police Force.
On July 18, ranks opened fire on persons protesting the hike in electricity tariffs in Linden, killing Selwyn Boyea, 18, Ron Somerset, 19 and Allan Williams, 54.
What happened next was a clear indication that the police had lost the confidence of a significant section of the public.
Residents of the bauxite mining town were so incensed that they openly showed their anger towards the ranks on duty there.
A week later, the Force lost one of its own, Sergeant Shurland Thomas, as a result of a vehicular accident.
This was just a few days after Acting Commissioner Brumell issued a warning against speeding on the roadways and drinking and driving.
But perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the month of July was the non announcement of the much anticipated promotions.
Late last year, Brumell, who had taken over the helm of the Guyana Police Force after Henry Greene went on leave to facilitate a rape investigation, had assured this newspaper that the promotions would have been announced during the Force’s anniversary month.
Traditionally, the Force’s promotions are announced at the beginning of the year.
“The soldiers get promote, prisons get promote, wha happen to police?” a rank questioned, adding that this is the eight month of the year and still there is no word on the promotions.
Ironically, the only two promotions this year were those of Brumell and Crime Chief Seelall Persaud, who were both promoted to Deputy Commissioners, filling positions that were vacant for years.
It is worrying for most ranks, especially those who are on the verge of retirement.
The Force has not explained the reason behind the delay. However, a senior police source has informed that while the junior promotions have been finalized, it is the senior list which is dependent on the Police Service Commission that is posing the problem.
But even if the promotions come out now it will hardly do anything to lift the spirits of many members of the Force who are convinced that the organization has taken two backward steps in the past month.