– accuses PSC of “playing into Rohee’s hand”
By Dale Andrews
The Police Service Commission (PSC) might have played into the hands of former Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee, and has delayed the announcement of the much anticipated police promotions.
The move has upset Commissioner of Police Seelall Persaud who believes that it stems directly from concerns raised by Rohee about pending disciplinary matters against certain senior police officers. It will also seem that Rohee still exerts some amount of influence on the current PSC which was constituted under his watch as Home Affairs Minister.
Speaking to members of the media yesterday at a special end-of-year press conference, Commissioner Persaud said that he is very disappointed at the move by the PSC, since it will definitely have debilitating effects on the morale of ranks.
“Yesterday I received a communication saying that the promotion will be on or before February 23rd, so it played right into the former Minister’s hands,” the Commissioner said, obviously referring to Rohee’s call for the process to be held back to facilitate a “disciplinary matter” against Assistant Commissioner David Ramnarine.
The eagerly anticipated Police promotions were expected to be announced on January 1.
The Commissioner, in defending the Force’s position on the outspoken Ramnarine, explained that there can be no pending disciplinary matter, since there was no charge laid against the Assistant Commissioner.
The matter in question was the public spat between Rohee and Ramnarine over monies for police elections duties in 2011.
Rohee had stated that he had lost confidence in the Assistant Commissioner and had asked then Acting Commissioner Leroy Brumell to institute disciplinary action.
Brumell had told this newspaper that he had sent the matter to the Police Service Commission, but did not get a response.
“If Mr. Ramnarine was not charged and we issue him with a charge sheet, then there is no disciplinary matter. And his file at this time, there is no charge sheet in that file. I’ve contacted him personally and he has said that he never received any,” Commissioner Persaud explained.
The position taken by Rohee is being seen by many as an attempt to stymie the upward movement of Assistant Commissioner Ramnarine who is tipped to take over the reins at the head of the force when the current Commissioner of Police retires in a short while.
Ramnarine was recently awarded the Disciplined Services Medal, a show of recognition for his outstanding work as a police officer.
Commissioner Persaud did not hold back in chiding the former Home Affairs Minister.
He said that it is unfortunate that Rohee is making an issue at this time when ranks are anxiously expecting their possible promotion.
“That could only have a negative impact on the morale of the members of the Guyana Police Force.
He referred to the retirement speech of former Commissioner Brumell, in which it was stated that the Police Force no longer commanded the respect of members of the society, and ranks are no longer proud to wear their uniforms. He also referred to a survey which showed that the organization with the least public confidence is the Guyana Police Force.
These statements and reports affected the morale of the organization.
He noted, however, that the Force is working with several society partners and that situation has certainly changed.
“We might still be the organization with the least public trust, but the ratings have improved,” Persaud boasted.
“We were struggling to get recruits then; we have now a waiting list for applicants of 1200, so certainly things have improved. And it was under that same Minister’s (Rohee) stewardship that we were there, and the same thing he is doing now,” Persaud added.
When asked about political interference in the Force as was mentioned by the former Minister, the Commissioner replied, “That is something I may address after I retire, and that is not very long from now.”
Meanwhile, 11 Cadet Officers whose promotions to Assistant Superintendents have been delayed, could see their appointments finalized once and for all.
The Cadet Officers were part of an initiative of former President Bharat Jagdeo to have a one-off batch of 50 Cadets.
The Cadets were drawn from ordinary Constables, who, after a two-year probationary period, satisfy the Police Service Commission that they will become good officers, and will be appointed Assistant Superintendents.
If they do not meet the criteria, the procedure is to have them reverted to their previous rank. However after several years, the Cadet Officers have neither been appointed nor reverted.
“What has happened is that the provisions were not made for them in our establishment for Assistant Superintendents and there was a delay (in their appointment),” the Commissioner explained.
That matter was sorted out when the government agreed to temporarily expand the establishment to accommodate the Cadet Officers.
The Commissioner said that he is aware that some of the 11 remaining Cadet Officers might have pending disciplinary matters and that was the reason for some of the delays.
Persaud said that he cannot say why those whose performances have been exemplary were not promoted. He suggested that this matter be taken up with the Police Service Commission.
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