The problem with some people on retirement is that they have too much time on their hands, and tend to do things to prove that they are still relevant. This I believe is the case with retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, Clinton Conway who retired from the Guyana Police Force on October 1st, 2008. For a man who has stated publicly that he has “no political ambition” and does not seek public office, Conway appears to be always sucking-up to the President as if to send a signal to the APNU+AFC Administration that he is available. Recently, Conway has been very active giving his unsolicited opinion in the local media on matters relating to the Guyana Police Force much to the disgust of the Police Public Relations and Press Officer, Superintendent Jairam Ramlakhan, who exposed a number of discrepancies in a recent letter by Clinton Conway, accusing him of “deliberately attempting to mislead members of the public on activities of and issues within the Guyana Police Force.”
Ramlakham also accused Clinton Conway of “lying on the dead when he wrote that “ghosting” was done in a large division when the late Henry Greene was Commissioner of Police. In a letter published on June 3, 2015 in which he queried the Police Complaints Authority getting their own investigative team, Conway wrote, “The vexed question is whether there is any law giving the newly appointed investigators the legal authority to conduct an investigation of offences against discipline as stipulated in the Police (Discipline) Act Chapter 17:01, whether or not a complaint was made to the Police Complaints Authority. Perhaps the law was enacted some time ago….”
Could someone please make it pellucid to me, an ordinary layman with some interest in the Police Force what is legally taking place at the Police Complaints Authority in relation to investigation of discipline that falls within the ambit of Section 4 of the Police (Discipline) Act Chapter 17.01?”
Of course, Clinton Conway is no ordinary layman. He is a retired Assistant Commissioner of Police. But this prompted a response from the Chairman of the Police Complaints Authority, Mr CC Kennard who suggested “that my friend Mr Conway look at Sections 6, 11 (1) & 20 of the Police Complaints Authority Act, Cap 17:02 of the Laws of Guyana as well as the Disciplined Forces Commission Report of 2003.” Mr. Kennard further suggested “that Mr Conway read the Police Complaints Authority Act and the Disciplined Forces Commission report for his own edification.”
It is obvious from the above that retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, Clinton Conway seems to have a serious problem with both his credibility and his interpretation of the law. And so it is not surprising that he would once again take sides with the unconstitutional action of President Granger who “directed that there be no consideration of promotions for members of the Guyana Police Force by the Police Service Commission, until further notice”.Article 226 (1) of the Guyana Constitution clearly states that; “In the exercise of its functions under this Constitution, a Commission shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority.”
The Police Service Commission is an independent body, and is one of the Commissions to which this Article refers.
It does not take a rocket scientist to understand this. Even Chevy Devonish, a Law Student, knows that the President cannot dictate to a constitutional commission. In a letter published in the Kaieteur News on August 10, the writer observed, “Undoubtedly, the President is a person to whom this Article refers, and the Police Service Commission is a commission contemplated by this provision. Therefore, the President’s direction for the Commission to halt promotions can only be seen as subjecting it to such direction or control which the constitution aims to prevent… The rule of law, as a constitutional doctrine, adds weight to the principle, and law, that the President, and all other office holders for that matter, must exercise power in accordance with the law, resisting urges to act arbitrarily, and conveniently. The President, therefore, exercises his power subject to constitutional limitations. He is inferior to the Constitution, its subordinate even.”
Editor, we have seen similar interference and abuse of power by the Executive Branch of this APNU+AFC government since taking office. Carvil Duncan, Chairman of the Public Service Commission was “hounded and persecuted out of office” because he refused to compromise the independence of the Public Service Commission, and to sell his integrity and independence to this Government.
So, with this in mind, and with total disregard for the Constitution of Guyana, retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, Clinton Conway argues that, “The conduct of many senior and junior offers of the GPF is being questioned at the Commission of Inquiry currently conducted by Paul Slowe, retired Assistant Commissioner of Police. These officers have been highly recommended to the Police Service Commission for promotions. What if the PSC goes ahead now and promote them and the CoI finds them guilty of misconduct? On the other hand why not wait a short while until the CoI completes it work. Certainly, if the CoI clears the officers of any misconduct they will be promoted.”
Is Conway privileged to inside information to determine how long the CoI will last? Could it not be that the Administration may have deliberately initiated this CoI as a smoke-screen to elevate certain individuals into strategic positions within the Force? Why else would they insist in having this worthless Commission of Inquiry during the worst security crisis when dangerous prisoners are still on the run?
The problem with Conway’s argument is simply this: As a former Assistant Police Commissioner, he took an oath to uphold the Law, not to break it.
For as long as I can remember, there have always been two types of police officers: those who are dedicated and are committed to the Force’s motto of Service and Protection, and those who are corrupt. Some are so good, that they rise to the pinnacle of their career in the GPF without detection or having to face disciplinary actions for violating the very Laws they took an oath to uphold.
If indeed Clinton Conway was an upright and upstanding police officer during his long career in the Guyana Police Force, one must surely question the reason he has changed. Has Clinton Conway read and if so, did he understand what is written in Article 226 (1) of the Guyana Constitution? And if he did, why is he so willing to tarnish his credibility by publicly supporting the President who has knowingly violated the Constitution? The answer of course, may be found in the many lucrative job opportunities that the Administration has made available to retired member of the security sector, and perhaps he believes if he makes a good enough impression, he may be invited to join the SARA family. I wish him well.
PPP Member of Parliament
Member of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee
for the Security Sector
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