Jan 12, 2016 News
A major disagreement has surfaced between the Ministry of the Presidency and former Attorney General Anil Nandlall over remarks made by President David Granger on the investigations into the deadly Carifesta Avenue crash involving a
serving Guyana Defence Force Sergeant.
The Ministry of the Presidency (MOTP) is accusing the former Attorney General of misleading the public. Nandlall is maintaining that the President was unlawfully interfering with the criminal justice system.
The Ministry of the Presidency yesterday condemned comments attributed to the former Attorney General, and published in the press under the caption “Nandlall slams President’s ‘unlawful interference’ in Carifesta Avenue Collision”.
The Ministry believes that this is a deliberate and iniquitous attempt to misconstrue President David Granger’s comments and thereby, mislead the public.
Nandlall in the article had criticized the President for his statement that there is no need for a full probe into the Carifesta Avenue accident that claimed three lives.
He called it “unlawful interference which sets a bad precedent of the Executive crossing boundaries.”
Nandlall was quoted as saying that “no member of the executive, including the president has the authority to determine, in what instances the police force should or should not be investigated.”
But according to the Ministry of the Presidency, at no point has the Head of State interfered in either the conduct of the operation, which was led by Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), or the investigations following the regretful loss of three lives.
The MOTP said that President Granger, in response to questions from reporters, who were attending the swearing in of Minister Valerie Adams-Patterson, indicated that while he is aware that there is an internal probe that will be conducted by the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), because of the death of Sergeant Robert Pyle, a determination for the need for a wider investigation would be advised on by the Chief of Staff of the GDF.
The MOTP quoted the President as saying in response to a question posed by a Journalist, that he does not “see that there is need for a probe at the present time, but if after discussions with the Chief of Staff he feels such a probe is justified” then
such a probe would be conducted.
“While the President said that at this point he saw no need for a wider probe, he did not rule it out nor did he advise or instruct either the Guyana Police Force (GPF) or the GDF on how they should proceed with their investigations,” the MOTP statement said.
It added that during that same media engagement, the President went on to say that he is not involved in the operational use of the GPF or the GDF, and these functions are vested in the Commissioner of Police by the Police Act and the Chief of Staff by the Defence Act, respectively.
But Nandlall in a late response yesterday, repeated that his simple contention was to establish that no member of the Executive, inclusive of the President, has any authority to determine which matters should or should not be investigated by the Guyana Police Force.
“The incident under review resulted in the death of three citizens, including a member of the Guyana Defence Force. A police investigation in these circumstances is mandatory.
“I made those comments in response to statements attributed to His Excellency, the President in the press,” Nandlall explained.
“It seems to have escaped the attention of the Ministry of Presidency that apart from an army officer, two civilians also lost their lives and the operation from which the loss of lives resulted was a civilian operation and not a military one.
“Therefore whatever course of action the Chief of Staff has planned, it has nothing to do with the Police duty to carry out its mandatory obligations under the Police Act to launch an investigation,” he added.
According to the former Attorney General, when the Commander in Chief sends out a particular signal, the Police Force appears to collapse into a paralysis and no investigation seems to be forthcoming.
He said that the overwhelming public perception is that the President has shut down any investigation into the incident. As a result, members of the public continue to agitate for a full investigation.
“Like me, the Guyana Bar Association believes that His Excellency has erred and it has issued a call for a full inquiry into this matter.
The Bar Association in a statement had disagreed with the president’s position.
“In my humble view, rather than obfuscate the matter further by its statement, a more prudent course would have been for the Ministry of the Presidency to make it excruciatingly clear that a full and thorough investigation into the incident by the Guyana Police Force is expected,” Nandlall stated.
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