Aug 04, 2020 News Comments Off on President Ali shakes up Police Force
On his first day in office, newly elected President, Irfaan Ali commenced a major shake-up in the Guyana Police Force (GPF). Most notably, Ali’s new appointments will see the Former Commander of A’ Division, Assistant Commissioner Edgar Thomas tasked with heading the President and Prime Minister’s security. Thomas will be assisted by Deputy Superintendent Amit Dass.
Thomas was removed from his post as Commander in March verbally by officials from the Force’s Administrative Department. He was reportedly told he was being transferred because he had refused an order to remove Commissioner, Sase Gunraj, and others from the Guyana Elections Commission High Street media centre on March 5. Thomas had said his decision to not remove Gunraj and others was “a judgment call.”
Commander Thomas and Sase Gunraj were discussing how to secure the room in which crucial documents related to the General and Regional Elections were stored. Shortly after, four Tactical Services Unit (TSU) ranks approached.
One rank said that they had received orders for everyone to “clear the building.” Commander Thomas reportedly told the rank, identified as a Deputy Superintendent, that he was speaking with Gunraj regarding securing the building.
He alleged that the ranks left, but returned some ten minutes later. The same Deputy Superintendent again told Commander Thomas that he had received orders to “clear the building.”
Thomas reportedly informed the Deputy Superintendent that the rank was being disrespectful. The junior rank was reportedly told that he had failed to report to Thomas, who was in charge of the area. He was then yanked from his post as Commander and placed in the Traffic Division.
Additionally, the Force will now see Assistant Commissioner of Police, Clifton Hicken assuming the position of Deputy Commissioner after Maxine Graham was finally sent off on her pre-retirement leave and subsequent retirement. According to information received, the Deputy Top Cop was handed her letter sometime yesterday following the Top Cop’s marching orders on Thursday last.
Both officials were expected to cease functions in the Force months ago but were still on the job, managing a “special elections operation” despite accumulating significant leave. They should have proceeded on their accumulated leave since early June.
From documents seen by Kaieteur News, the two racked up more than 16 months in accumulated leave. According to the documents, Commissioner James had accumulated 306 days, and should have proceeded on leave on June 28 last. His retirement date, according to the documents, is May 5, 2021.
With regards to Deputy Commissioner Graham, she had accumulated 172 days of leave and should have left her post since June 11 – her retirement date is December 1, 2020. With her gone, Deputy Commission Clifton Hicken will head Force Operations. Hicken, along with his Deputy, Senior Superintendent Fazil Karimbaksh, were seconded back in January. Hicken was moved to the Ministry of Citizenship while Karimbaksh who worked under him was shifted to the Civil Defence Commission (CDC).
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