Former SWAT Head to challenge Felix’s ‘special leave’ decision
By Michael Younge
Former SWAT Unit Head Motie Dookie is expected to challenge a decision made by Citizenship Minister Winston Felix while performing the functions of Public Security Minister to send him on special leave with pay, as he believes the move may be illegal and a breach of his fundamental rights as outlined in the Constitution of Guyana.
This was confirmed by Dookie’s recently retained Attorney, Anil Nandlall, who is also Guyana’s former Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister.
Dookie was accused of smuggling 30 cases of whisky in December 2017 and was spared criminal charges after the driver of the vehicle that he was in at the time of the interception took full responsibility for the illegal items.
Following the discovery and the subsequent reportage of the media as well as an initial investigation conducted by his superiors, he was relieved of his duties as SWAT Commander. A decision was also taken to transfer him to the Force’s Strategic Planning Unit to facilitate an internal investigation. Soon after, he was then posted to the Police A Division (Georgetown-East Bank Demerara) last month but reassigned to Police Headquarters, Eve Leary a few days later. On May 24, the decision to send him on special leave was made by Minister Felix while the performing the duties of the substantive Minister Khemraj Ramjattan who has also refused to rescind the leave instruction.
Also, the Permanent Secretary (PS) of the Department of Public Service, Reginald Brotherson defended the move on Friday, saying in the absence of a constituted Police Service Commission (PSC), the authorised Minister or agency can take action against Police ranks using the Public Service Rules after Minister Felix had argued that the action was taken in accordance with the 1987 Public Service Rules.
But Nandlall, speaking with Guyana Times on Tuesday said the Government cannot justify the unlawful decision taken by Minister Felix who gave an unlawful instruction to the acting Police Commissioner David Ramnarine that resulted in his client being sent on ‘special leave with pay’.
“Minister Felix has no such power… Mr Ramnarine has no such power. The power to discipline Police Officers above a specific rank lies with the Police Service Commission. A Police Commissioner nor a Minister has no such power whatsoever to direct, to interfere with or to exercise disciplinary power or control over these officers,” he maintained during the interview despite the arguments put forward by Brotherson and Felix.
The attorney said he has noted with grave consternation the positions taken by Felix and Brotherson which he hoped they would advance in a modern court of hope.
“I hope to name him (Felix) as a party in the proceedings and I have that those reasons he has articulated in the press, he will come to the court and articulate those very reasons and the court will rule upon his arguments because I have read them and they amount to absolute nonsense,” he noted.
The lawyer did not say how soon he would take formal action by filing the necessary paper work but he did promise that it would be done with great dispatch given the seriousness of the move by Felix.
“The Constitution places that functional remit exclusively in the Police Service Commission. Article 212 of the Constitution provides that… the power to make appointments to any offices in the Police Force of or above the rank of inspector, the power to exercise disciplinary control [of] persons holding or acting in such offices and the power to remove such persons from office shall vest in the Police Service Commission,” the release continued.
“Clearly, Dookie falls within the ranks provided for and contemplated by this provision. Additionally, Article 226 (1) provides 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,’” Nandlall had argued.