As the search continues for a new Commissioner of Police, President David Granger has said some of the qualities the new Top Cop should possess are: integrity, intelligence and impartiality.
The Head of State told reporters on Thursday that with reconstitution of the Police Service Commission, the appointment of a new Police Commissioner will now move forward.
Article 211 (1) of the Constitution vests the President with the authority to appoint the Commissioner of Police and every Deputy Commissioner of Police “…after meaningful consultation with the Leader of the Opposition, and Chairperson of the Police Service Commission after the Chairperson has consulted with the other members of the Commission.”
To this end, President Granger noted that he intends to engage both parties in “meaningful consultations” to have a substantive Commissioner of Police
appointed as soon as practical. In fact, he noted that he has already spoken with the Chairman of the new Police Service Commission, Paul Slowe, on the matter.
“He has just been sworn in so he has to now meet with his colleagues of the Police Service Commission and review the potential candidates before he can consult with me. I told him that I am ready at any time, because such [appointments] are prohibited from proceeding with the consultations,” the President said.
Questioned about the qualities he would be looking for in the new Top Cop, the Head of State posited that integrity is the most important one, along with intelligence and impartiality. “I don’t give orders to the Commissioner of Police, but I want somebody who is unbribable; I want somebody who is intelligent; and I want somebody whose commitment is to carrying the programme of Security Sector Reform, who has the initiative and who can generate public trust. If I put somebody there who is not trust worthy, the public would laugh,” the President noted.
Asked whether he has found anyone with these qualities, the President said he is “searching”. He reminded that apart from now awaiting advice from the PSC, he has already interviewed the eight Assistant Commissioners in the Force, so he has got a sense of the pool from which he has to choose.
While some Caribbean nations have turned to foreign nationals to head their Police Force, the Head of State is insistent that the new Top Cop must be a Guyanese.
“I think we have the talent in Guyana, and I intend to turn to Guyanese; but I’m looking for somebody who has the intelligence, the impartiality and the integrity to hold such a position. I think Guyana needs to have a Commissioner to look up to, and I expect that he is gonna be supported by four Deputy Commissioners. We haven’t had four Deputy Commissioners for a long time, and the hierarchy has been flat. You know everybody is of the same rank, and of course that created moral problems. Everybody wants to rise to the top,” President Granger asserted.
PSC Chairman Paul Slowe has said he would be consulting with his fellow Commission members before approaching the President with any recommendation. However, he did note that the PSC would be looking for a competent candidate, who can earn respect not only within the Force, but outside as well.
“People must have confidence in that person. So I think those are the two main things that I would be looking at – competence, and a person who can command respect of his subordinates and members of the public,” Slowe asserted.
Former Commissioner of Police Seelall Persaud went into pre-retirement leave back in February, and officially retired two months later. Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Administration, David Ramnarine, has since been the acting Top Cop. He and seven other Assistant Commissioners were each interviewed for the post.
The other ACPs are: Crime Chief Paul Williams; ACP – Operations, Clifton Hicken; Force’s Finance Officer, Nigel Hoppie; ‘A’ Division Commander (ag), Leslie James; substantive ‘A’ Division Commander Marlon Chapman, who is currently on leave; ‘B’ Division Commander Lyndon Alves; and for the first time ever, a female contender in ACP-Administration II, Maxine Graham.