By Dale Andrews
It has been two weeks since the Guyana Police Force lifted the curtains on its long awaited promotions list and the revelation has come as a major disappointment to several junior ranks, many of whom have been stagnated in one position for well over a decade.
But while the junior ranks are complaining, the promotions of the senior ranks are equally contentious.
Three officers were promoted to the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police, bringing the total number of such ranks to eight; when there is accommodation for four more Assistant Commissioners.
Missing the cut were Nigel Hoppie, Dale Alves, Ian Amsterdam, Lawrence Kissoon, Courtney Ramsey, Paul Williams and Lyndon Alves, who were all long serving Senior Superintendents.
The situation is baffling to many ex-members of the Guyana Police Force, since from all appearances the promotions were not done in the order of seniority.
“I’m saying that the process to me does not appear to be fair…if they are talking about qualifications, Paul Williams has a Degree in Law and a Diploma in Public Administration…some of them (who were promoted to AC) ain’t got nothing,” a former senior police official offered.
The process of recommendation of persons for promotions usually commences in the last quarter of the year, so that the issue of supersession is carefully examined.
This comes into account when an officer has disciplinary matters pending that could affect his promotion.
“But you have to explain in the promotion returns that this man supersedes X because of so, so, so,” explained a senior police officer who has had years of experience dealing with police promotions both at the senior and junior levels.
Presently, some major departments of the Guyana Police Force that are traditionally headed by Assistant Commissioners are being run by persons of a lower rank.
The police Finance Office, the Immigration Department and the Training School come to mind.
Some of the promotions and omissions, especially those at the higher level came as a big shock to a section of the Force.
Reliable sources have indicated that several persons who were recommended by the Police Senior Ranks Promotion Board never made the cut, while some who were not, found favour with the Police Service Commission, which is responsible for approving the promotions of senior officers.
At least three high-ranking officers, who were privy to the list of persons recommended to the Commission, have confirmed that Crime Chief Leslie James, Senior Superintendent Marlon Chapman, Superintendents Errol Watts and Budhram were not recommended by the Police Senior Ranks Promotion Board.
“I don’t know what pressure the Police Service Commission was under but I understand that regular practices were not adhered to.”
Meanwhile, the junior ranks, more particularly the Constables who have served for 10 to 15 years, have also spoken out on the promotion issue.
They have pointed out that a large number of them have never been subjected to departmental or criminal charges; were never interdicted nor do they have any disciplinary matter pending but they were not eligible for the last promotion by the Commissioner of Police, Seelall Persaud.
They pointed out that they have been working assiduously for years yet they have been overlooked.
What the ranks have deemed disturbing is that among the ranks promoted are those currently charged and interdicted and others who, in the past, had damning allegations leveled against them.
The upset ranks have pointed to the instance where the ranks fingered in the torturing of a teenage boy have been promoted.
In 2008, the two ranks were accused of pouring fuel and setting fire to the genitals and lower torso of the teenager at the Leonora Police Station.
“They could argue that five years have passed since that incident and without any further infractions on their part up to now, they qualify for promotion,” the officer explained.
But in the same breath he acknowledged that the ranks in the torture case should not have remained in the Force following the incident.
With disdain, the junior ranks have noted that both of the ranks have been elevated within the Force and one now stands as an Inspector while the other is a Corporal.
Recognising that a large number of them have clean slates but have been overlooked, the ranks are now left to ponder if it pays to commit wrongdoings in the Force.
Also of concern too was the situation where the “juniors now seems to be senior.”
“Some junior ranks promoted to Lance Corporal, Corporal and even Sergeant, have less than 15 years of service and they now have to supervise us ranks with 10, 15 and more years of service up our sleeves.”
The upset ranks stated that the situation is now one where the lower ranks have more experience than their “superiors.”
“What can one say about a man who has ten years service and was publicly praised by the Minister of Home Affairs for his role in the capture of a murder suspect who was on the run for several years, a man who has no pending disciplinary matter and yet he remains a Constable?” the officer asked.
He mentioned that the same rank was also injured in a 2005 shootout and spent two months in the hospital.
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