Police Commissioner Leslie James has finally proceeded on pre-retirement leave which will lead into his retirement. This comes almost one month after controversy sparked over the fact that several members in the hierarchy of the Guyana Police Force remain on the job, despite having significant amounts of accumulated leave which would lead them into retirement. Police Commissioner James is said to have some 307 days accumulated leave. He will reach 55, the retirement age for Public Servants, in April 2021, which means he should have gone off on pre-retirement leave on June 28, and this would have taken him straight into retirement.
When contacted on Saturday, de facto Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan confirmed that the Top Cop made the request to proceed on his pre-retirement leave and it was granted. As of August 1, Deputy Commissioner Nigel Hoppie is acting Police Commissioner.
He went on to say that the Top Cop performed “excellently and did a remarkable job in keeping the peace during the tense and stressful times of elections.”
James joined the Guyana Police Force in 1987 and was appointed Top Cop in May 2018 following the retirement of former Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud.
Meanwhile, time is also winding down for Deputy Commissioner (Operations), Maxine Graham to also follow suit on pre-retirement leave. However, this is not yet finalised.
Graham will turn 55 in November. She also has accumulated approximately 172 days’ leave and should have been sent on pre-retirement leave since June 11.
Asked about her, Ramjattan said, “I’m still to give that a thought. She’s also a Deputy Commissioner and I’ve asked the PS (Permanent Secretary) to work out how much more accumulated leave she has. That should be done by Monday.”
With 33 years of service under her belt now, Graham was the lone female among four new Deputy Commissioners appointed in August 2018.
In early July, caretaker President David Granger was questioned on the reason behind having the top-ranking Police officials still on the job after Guyana Defence Force Chief of Staff Brigadier Patrick West was sent on pre-retirement leave effective July 1, to which he responded that it was an administrative decision.
While acknowledging that an instrument was passed stipulating that leave should not be accumulated and that officers within the Disciplined Services should enjoy their leave in the calendar year when it is due, Granger had claimed that the move to keep on the Top Cop was because of the “special operation” that was launched for the March 2 elections, and it had to be extended because of the prolonged post-election period. (G12)