Jul 26, 2022 News
Kaieteur News – National Security Advisor, Gerry Gouveia has said it was never the intention for the Guyana Police Force to erase the name Felix Austin from its training college.
Kaieteur News understands that the change should have only catered for the inserting of the word academy in place of college, but someone at Eve Leary went a step further by radically erasing the name of Felix Austin. “There will be no name change. The police training facility will remain named after its first commissioner of police, Felix Austin,” Gouveia told Kaieteur News in an invited comment on Monday. Gouveia’s comments run contrary to what the Guyana Police Force had publicly stated. The GPF in a recent Facebook post notified the public that it “has taken a decision to change the name of the Felix Austin Police College to the Guyana Police Force Academy.
Since that post there have been a slew of criticisms, which seemingly caused a recanting of the decision. Retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, Paul Slowe was the first to raise concerns over the decision to change the name, saying that such a move will erase the history behind GPF and its training college. In a letter to the editor of this newspaper, Slowe had written: “I asked myself whether this is a deliberate effort to erase or re-write the history of the Guyana Police Force, which recently observed its 183rd anniversary”.
Felix Austin was the first Guyanese Commissioner of Police after Guyana gained Independence in 1966 and Slowe stated that this was one of the main reasons why the “Police training school” formed in 1956 was renamed after him in 1987. “The Police Training School gained the status of a college and was renamed the Felix Austin Police College on August 28, 1987, as a tribute to Guyana’s first post-independence Commissioner of Police”, Slowe wrote.
The retired Assistant Commissioner explained that prior to Austin’s appointment, Commissioners of Police were chosen from among British Nationals because Guyana was under British rule. When Guyana gained independence, Austin was appointed Commissioner of Police in 1967 and became the first Guyanese to hold that position. Slowe also pointed out that Austin had an illustrious police career and was the founder of the Police Literary and Debating Section of the Police Sports Club. He noted too that Austin was one of the founding members of the Police Male Voice Choir and had also served as Chairman and “militant member of the Police Federation now known as the Police Association”.
Slowe is of the view that renaming the Felix Austin Training College will erase a key part of Guyana’s history and wants GPF to reconsider its decision. Slowe wrote: “I hope that the persons who took the decision to erase the name of the first Commissioner of Police after Guyana gained independence from the police training institution in Georgetown will reconsider this decision”.
Director of GPF’s Corporate Communications Unit (CCU), Mark Ramotar had related that the reason behind the decision was simply because the force is launching a new police academy, with an upgraded status, one that is accredited by the University of Guyana (Guyana). Ramotar added that the formation of the new academy is part of GPF’s strategic plan to upgrade the education level of its ranks and ranks in training. This move, he said, was made possible by a five-year Memorandum of Agreement between the force and UG. The MoA was signed in 2021, with the purpose of refining existing programmes and developing new ones that cater for members of the force. The GPF had invited interested artists and designers to be part of a Logo and Slogan competition for the new police academy. Competitors are being asked to submit a Logo and a Slogan design in PDF format for the “The Guyana Police Force Academy”. All Submissions must be sent in no later than 12:00hrs on Thursday July 28, via email to [email protected]. The winning entry will be awarded $300,000 in cash.
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