Jul 05, 2022 News
– Police Service Commission not properly constituted, Hicken not properly appointed
– Forde flags flagrant breach of constitution, signals more court challenge
By Rehanna Ramsay
Kaieteur News – The Police Service Commission is not properly constituted without the Chairman of the Public Service Commission and as such, the promotions of senior officers announced on Sunday are null and void, Senior Counsel Roysdale Forde has said.
Forde, who is also the Shadow Attorney General in the National Assembly, said the same obtains for the junior ranks as Clifton Hicken is also not properly appointed as the Acting Commissioner of Police and therefore could not have authorised the promotion of junior ranks. Only last week, President Irfaan initiated consultations with Opposition Leader, Aubrey Norton to appoint Hicken as the acting police chief. He had previously purported to make the appointment citing the doctrine of necessity. However, the President seems to have walked back on this following legal challenge by Norton.
According to the Guyana Constitution: The Police Service Commission shall consist of––(a) a Chairman appointed by the President acting after consultation with the Minority Leader from among members appointed under subparagraph (d); (b) the Chairman of the Public Service Commission; (c) one person appointed by the President after consultation with such body as appears to him to represent the majority of members of the Police Force; and (d) not more than three members exclusive of the Chairman of the Public Service Commission (in this article referred to a “appointed members”) who shall be appointed by the President acting after consultation with the Minority Leader.
At present, there is no Public Service Commission in place and therefore no chairman. This means that the Police Service Commission is not constituted properly as per the constitution, although the rest of the members are in place. On Sunday, the Guyana Police Force announced the promotion of several senior officers including Calvin Brutus and Fazil Karimbaksh who had previously challenged the elevation of others because their names were not on that list. Scores of junior ranks were also elevated in rank by Hicken.
Brutus and Karimbaksh are among eight senior superintendents who have been elevated to the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP). The others include crime Chief, Wendell Blanhum, Ravindradat Budhram, Mahendra Siwnarine, Errol Watts, Khali Pareshram and Kurleigh Simon. Those promoted to Senior Superintendents are Khalid Mandall, Mahendra Singh, Dion Moore, Shivpersaud Bacchus, Boodnarine Persaud, Ramesh Ashram, Hugh Winter, Raphael Rose, Jermaine Johnson, Himnauth Sawh, and Amit Das. Notably two senior ranks who were on the list prepared by previous commission to be promoted to Assistant Commissioner of Police were not part of this new list. They are Senior Superintendent of Police, Edmond Cooper and Senior Superintendant of Police, Phillip Azore.
Meanwhile, speaking to Kaieteur News on the issue, Forde denounced the move to promote the ranks in the face of questionable appointments of both the acting commissioner and the PSC. Alluding to the constitutional provisions which stipulate the composition of a full and proper functioning PSC, attorney noted that a properly constituted PSC requires a chairman and four members as well as the Chairman of the Public Service Commission. He noted however, that the current board of PSC does not include the Chairman of the Public Service Commission since the Public Service Commission which is defunct for more than a year is yet to be reconstituted.
Forde noted therefore the decision of the PSC to move forward with the promotions of the senior officers of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) can be challenged. “PSC that is not fully in place leaves in the door open for the promotions to be challenged…In my view, the promotions are null and void because for the Police Service Commission to fully constituted, it must have the Chairman of the Public Service Commission on the board. There is no Public Service Commission. The last Public Service Commission life came to an end more than a year ago,” he explained. According to the APNU+AFC shadow Minister of Legal Affairs, a similar issue arises in the promotion of junior ranks of the GPF.
With regard to the promotion of the junior ranks, Forde explained that these are to be approved by the acting Commissioner of Police Clifton Hicken whose appointment is also being brought into question. The APNU +AFC Shadow Minister noted Hicken’s appointment which is being challenged in Court on the grounds that it was not sanctioned by the correct procedure. “We see the President [Irfaan Ali] now trying to correct his error by inviting the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Aubrey Norton to officially appoint Mr. Hicken as acting commissioner, in my view this is a backward state of affairs that has no legal support or basis,” Forde added.
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