If all goes well, in two years’ time, the Guyana Police Force will have within its ranks a qualified attorney at law.
This follows the administration’s granting of approval for Deputy Superintendent of Police, Edmund Cooper, to proceed to the
Hugh Wooding Law School to complete his legal studies.
Cooper is one of the 25 students who have been accepted into the University of the West Indies’ Hugh Wooding Law School at the start of the academic year 2014/2015, having successfully completed the LLB programme at the University of Guyana.
The significance of the administration’s approval for Cooper to proceed to Hugh Wooding cannot be understated, since it comes against the backdrop of several controversial incidents of police officers going overseas to pursue studies.
At least two senior officers were dismissed by the Force after the administration accused them of breaching force policy by proceeding overseas to study without authorization.
Former Assistant Superintendent now attorney at law Patrice Henry, as well as former Senior Superintendent Simon Mc Bean, are both challenging their dismissal from the force, after they returned from “unauthorized” study leave.
Henry had gone to Hugh Wooding, while Mc Bean went to the United Kingdom to pursue a Masters Degree in security management, after he was granted a scholarship.
Another officer now attorney at law, Dexter Todd, had resigned from the force to pursue legal studies on his own.
Kaieteur News understands that several other police officers have completed law degrees at the University of Guyana but were not granted approval to continue on to the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad.
Additionally, a few more are presently enrolled at UG, but given the limitations that are being touted by the Council for Legal Education at the University of the West Indies, there is no certainty that they will be accepted at Hugh Wooding.
It’s been more than 15 years since a police officer was granted leave with pay to pursue studies at Hugh Wooding, the last being the late Commissioner Henry Greene.
Cooper now joins elite company that includes former Commissioner Greene, former Assistant Commissioner Michael Somersall and former Superintendent Gordon Gilhuys, who were allowed to complete their legal studies while serving as members of the Guyana Police Force.
Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee in an invited comment told this newspaper that he is certain that approval for ranks to pursue tertiary education overseas was something that is long overdue. He said that the ranks have been making constant representation for their applications to proceed on study leave to be approved.
“Once the required qualification is there and other considerations are taken into account like the rank of the officer and the need for the required skills, I don’t see a problem arising,” Minister Rohee told this newspaper.
Deputy Superintendent Cooper was touted as one of the country’s top police prosecutors, having prosecuted several high profile matters while he was stationed on the East Coast of Demerara during the crime wave of 2002 to 2008.
His past posting was the Court Superintendent at the Police ‘A’ Division, supervising the main cadre of police prosecutors who operate at the Georgetown and Providence Magistrates’ Courts.
Cooper leaves Guyana for Trinidad on Sunday.
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