Ramnarine’s role to be determined after leave ends – Commissioner
…former acting Top Cop reportedly seeking legal advice for non-confirmation
By Michael Younge
Police Commissioner Leslie James on Tuesday maintained that Assistant Police Commissioner David Ramnarine has proceeded on annual leave as he debunked reports that the senior law enforcement officer has signalled his intention to resign from the Guyana Police Force following his non-appointment as a Deputy Police Commissioner and non-confirmation in the Top Cop post.
Ramnarine had been acting as the country’s Top Cop following the retirement of Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud. Before that, he filled in as acting Top Cop whenever Persaud proceeded on leave or was on official duties overseas.
He even acted ahead of Persaud’s retirement when the Top Cop was sent on accumulated leave following the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry into allegations which surfaced in the media in relation to an alleged plot to assassinate the sitting President of Guyana David Granger.
Asked how long Ramnarine was expected to be away from work, James said while he cannot disclose the exact time-frame, he knows that the Assistant Police Commissioner was likely to be away for close to three months.
“I can confirm that he had close to three months annual leave and I am aware that he has proceeded on that leave,” James said during a brief exchange with Guyana Times on Tuesday.
Pressed further as to what role Ramnarine was expected to play in the new leadership structure of the Police Force, given that he was not included in the recently released reshuffled command structure/chart, James said his role will be determined upon his resumption of duty.
“It is normal for that structure to be updated,” the Commissioner explained, while stating that arrangements for someone to fill in various posts ahead of another person proceeding on annualised leave has always been the norm even before the person officially proceeds off-duty. He insisted that the public and media would be kept abreast of any new development with respect to the Force’s hierarchy.
When Ramnarine was recently contacted by this newspaper, he asked that his privacy be respected, and he be allowed to enjoy the “sanctity of his leave” as he expressed the view that he had given a lot of years of service to the Force and wished to be allowed to be in peace.
But sources close to Ramnarine, who also spoke with Guyana Times, confirmed that he was deeply troubled by the manner in which he was overlooked for appointment as a Deputy Police Commissioner or the substantive Police Commissioner.
“While I cannot speak for Mr Ramnarine, he could have a legal case because he had a legitimate expectation and was, at some point and time seen as competent enough to take charge of the Force upon Mr Seelall’s departure,” the source said.
The source went on to explain that the current Government also demonstrated “confidence” in him as he was appointed by President Granger to act in the post for several months continuously.
“I cannot confirm that he will embark on that course of actions (suing) but I would not be surprised if he did,” the source remarked before declining to offer any more insight into the matter.
Additionally, speculation was rife on Tuesday afternoon when Ramnarine was spotted by roving reporters and media personnel entering the office of a prominent Attorney in Georgetown.
That Attorney declined to offer any comments on the matter when asked for a comment on record by this newspaper but pointed Guyana Times in Ramnarine’s direction for any clarity it wished to obtain on matters related to the lawman’s personal and professional life as well as decisions.
Ramnarine went on leave after media reports pointed to the fact that he (Ramnarine) had not been shortlisted for the Top Cop position, even though he was next in line to take the charge.
Ever since then, Ramnarine has been staying clear of the media and has avoided answering any questions in relation to the decision taken to side-track him for the Top Cop post.
President Granger had insisted that he followed the Constitution and the advice of the Police Service Commission when he appointed Leslie James to the post of Police Commissioner. He said he relied heavily on the advice of the Chairman, Paul Slowe, before any decision was taken and he insisted that James was the best choice. Before making his pick and ahead of meeting Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, Granger had outlined that the candidate he would select must be someone who is “unbribable”.
Slowe, last week, was quoted in another section of the media as saying that Ramnarine was not chosen because of the details contained in his personal and service file, which had some worrying trends about his performance within the Guyana Police Force.
He insisted that he had recused himself from the process somewhat at the level of the PSC because he was head of a Commission of Inquiry which had criticised Ramnarine and others for their handling of an alleged plot to assassinate President David Granger.