– as members of PSC sworn in
Newly appointed Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), Paul Slowe, has admitted that he does have “baggage”, but noted that what is in the baggage is what matters.
Following a meeting with President David Granger last month, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo had said that Slowe “…will bring two sets of baggage with him. One, the political approach to the job; that is, judging people based on politics; and secondly, he has a lot of interpersonal problems with many members of the Police Force and old scores, I believe, to settle; and therefore that could harm his judgment.”
Asked to comment on this statement shortly after he was sworn in on Thursday, the new PSC Chairman told reporters that what he has to offer is what matters.
“I do have baggage, but is what’s in the baggage is the important thing. The baggage contains discipline, professionalism, measures to deal with corruption; so forget about the baggage, examine what’s inside,” the new PSC Chairman asserted.
Jagdeo had said that when he raised his concerns, President Granger had indicated that he would speak with Slowe to ensure that he acts impartially, and not to “bring baggage to the job”.
Slowe returned to the limelight last year when he was handpicked by the Head of State to carry out a commission of inquiry (CoI) on the Police Force’s handling of allegations to assassinate the President. In his report, Slowe had recommended major reshuffling of the Force’s hierarchy as well as sanctions against several high level ranks.
In addition to Slowe, Vester Adams, Clinton Conway, Alexis Jarvis and Chairman of the Public Service Commission, Michael Somersall, were also sworn in as members of the new Police Service Commission by the Head of State on Thursday.
Following the Investiture Ceremony at State House, Slowe told reporters that the first order of business will be to scrutinise and fast track the promotion and discipline process within the Police Force.
“The Constitution dictates that discipline of ranks from Inspector to Assistant Commissioner is the duty of the [Police] Service Commission, but for a number of years, we’ve had issues; up to when I left. And I suspect it has continued – where matters are there pending for unduly long periods of time, and as you know, justice delayed is justice denied. “So that is one of the areas I think we need to look at very seriously, to make sure that the whole process of discipline is smooth and efficient,” the new PSC Chairman stated.
Meanwhile, President Granger, in brief remarks, said the PSC has the power to hire and discipline the Force’s hierarchy, which is essential not only for efficiency of the police, but also for the enhancement of public trust.
“The Commission’s independent status can contribute to enhancing public trust in the Force, to boosting the morale of officers, and to ensuring the efficacy of law enforcement. The Commission’s powers of promotion can re-establish the principle of merit in the advancement of officers. The Commission’s powers of discipline and dismissal, applied fairly, can encourage probity and discourage misconduct… The appointment of the Commission, therefore, is essential to Police Force efficiency and to state security,” the President noted.
This new Police Service Commission will last for a period of three years. The life of the previous Police Service Commission ended last September, and there have since been calls for the new appointment of the new Commission to be expedited, since the Force has lost nearly a dozen senior ranks to retirement.