If Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee has his way, more police ranks, including
senior officers, could face lie detector tests.
Kaieteur News understands that this was hinted at a meeting he held last week with senior officers of the force at his temporary office in the police officers training centre at Eve Leary.
According to a source, Rohee told the officers at the meeting that he is contemplating the introduction of “widespread integrity testing”.
This is in addition to several other proposals that would hopefully bring about a new posture of the Guyana Police Force.
Previously, only ranks of the Police Anti-Narcotics Unit were put through lie detector tests, but there are expectations that this will be extended to the general population of the Force.
But this will certainly be a challenge since widespread tests could result in widespread failure.
And when it is taken into account that several ranks from the Police Anti-Narcotics Unit were transferred from that department after failing the test, it is not easy to conclude what could happen if widespread testing is introduced.
There are reports that Rohee also plans to change the name of the Police Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) to the Internal Affairs Department.
At the meeting, the Minister also openly chided some officers for not responding promptly to correspondence from his Ministry.
These were all part of discussions that he claimed was intended to enable him to prepare a government position on the Guyana Police Force, with the upcoming Officers’ Conference in mind.
President Donald Ramotar is scheduled to deliver the feature address which will form the catalyst for discussion during the annual conference, which will be held some time next month.
According to reliable sources, the Minister now appears to be taking a hands-on approach in his dealing with the force, something that is being frowned upon by the majority of police officers.
Already the Home Affairs Minister has virtually taken control of the issuance of firearm, through the appointment of a Firearms Approval Board.
This move was opposed by the main opposition party in the Ninth Parliament, the People’s National Congress Reform, which objected to what it described as the Minister of Home Affairs usurping the authority to grant or to refuse firearms licences to applicants without the consultation of the Divisional Commanders of the Guyana Police Force.
The previous Firearms License Act stated the Minister does not have the authority to grant or refuse Firearm Licences, but should appoint “a fit and proper person to do so”.
Opposition Member of Parliament Basil Williams had stated that the Minister of Home Affairs does not have the constitutional right to carry out any of the duties of the Police Force.
He expressed displeasure at the move by the Minister who Gazetted regulation in April 2010, which allows him to overrule any recommendations of the Firearms Licensing Approval Board” and based upon his verdict, he can “grant or refuse the certificate of registration in accordance with his own deliberate judgement.”
Meanwhile, some police officers have questioned the timing of the Minister’s direct meeting with the force’s top brass, especially since it took the form similar to that of the Force’s admin meeting, except that Rohee was not wearing the commissioner’s uniform.
“Maybe, if anyone thinks that the Commissioner Acting Leroy Brummel is vulnerable at this time, they had better watch out, I’m next door.”
There are fears that the Minister of Home Affairs wants to get more involved in the day to day running of the Guyana Police Force.
There have been concerns expressed by senior members of the Force about the political interference, especially now since there is a new Top Cop in charge.
According to a usually reliable source, while the Minister spoke about many things relating to the way forward for the Force, noticeably absent from last week’s discussion were piracy and armed robberies, which are major areas of concerns for the nation’s security.
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