CoI exposes serious deficiencies in GPF – President
President David Granger on Friday said the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the alleged assassination plot against him has exposed serious deficiencies and weaknesses in the Guyana Police Force (GPF), which will have to be corrected. While making it clear that the CoI is not meant to be a “witch-hunt”, the Head of State said work has to be done to ensure that the law enforcement agency is more
professional and efficient in the execution of its duties and responsibilities.
Speaking to media operatives on the sidelines of the Launch of the Demerara-Mahaica (Region Four) Regional Agricultural and Commercial Exhibition (RACE) at the Ramada Princess Hotel, the President said while Cabinet has not deliberated on the contents of the report as yet, its findings point to some critical areas, which will need to be addressed as part of security sector reform.
“[The Commission] made some very strong recommendations. Even persons who have been following the day-to-day reports would have realised that there has been a significant lapse in professionalism at the high levels of the Guyana Police Force, so these are matters of concern. It has brought to light some serious deficiencies and I am very confident that the work Mr Russell Combe is doing will point to ways in which we can correct the deficiencies. The important thing is to ensure that we get information so that we can correct the fault. It is not a witch-hunt. We are trying to make the law enforcement agencies more efficient,” he is quoted by the Ministry of the Presidency as saying.
Combe is a British security expert, who is an Advisor to President Granger as part of the United Kingdom’s US$4.7 billion Security Sector Reform (SSR) Programme.
On March 29, 2017, Andriff Gillard reported to the Police that his friend and neighbour, Nizam Khan, offered him $7 million to assassinate the President. He said the offer was made during a conversation between Khan and himself after he approached Khan to borrow $6 million to purchase a property.
According to Gillard, the conversation was between himself and Khan with no one in earshot. However, Leon Baldeo – one of the accuser’s friends had told the CoI that he was offered $50,000 on March 26 to corroborate Gillard’s story by saying he was present when the conversation took place.
The CoI sought to inquire into persons, places, times, circumstances and events by and through which allegations and reports came to be made of an intention to assassinate the President; investigate the full range of the actions and responses of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) to the reports and the extent to which such actions were conducted or executed with due diligence; determine whether any person, and in particular, officers of the GPF had information before and after reports were made of a plan to assassinate the President and whether any such officers communicated that information to a superior authority.
Commissioners also recorded and reported on what official action was taken on the basis of the information received and whether there was due diligence by the officers of the GPF in the investigation of the plan to assassinate the President and determine whether there was failure, neglect or omission to thoroughly and properly investigate the plan to assassinate the President and determine whether such failure or omission was intentional.
The Commissioners sought to also determine the blameworthiness for the failure or neglect of officers or persons involved in the investigation and recommend action to be taken against persons found to be blameworthy. They will also recommend steps that can be taken to prevent the recurrence of such incident and identify systemic issues, if any, in the GPF’s competence to investigate matters of this nature.
The final report has since been handed over to Government.