GEORGETOWN, Guyana – President David Granger Wednesday said that his administration would adhere to a High Court ruling that described as unlawful and unconstitutional a directive to the Police Service Commission to temporary halt the promotion of senior members of the Guyana Police Force (GPF).
However, Granger said while he accepted the ruling of Chief Justice Roxanne George-Wiltshire earlier this month, he believes that there is merit in the coalition government’s position on the matter.
“So far we are respectful of that ruling. You know very well the reasons why we had to take action. The government of Guyana is deeply concerned about state security,” Granger told reporters.
In her ruling the Chief Justice said that the Constitution has no provisions for the Minister of State to direct the Police Service Commission on the issue of promotions.
But Granger told reporters that while the Court has now deemed the move unlawful, the state would have been failing in its responsibility if it had ignored the warnings that security was being imperiled and jeopardized.
He said the government is now awaiting the written ruling and will have a formal response when that ruling is studied.
The move by the government came as the Police Service Commission was preparing to put together its list of promotions when it received the letter from the State Minister, Joseph Harmon, who said it was at the request of the President.
Political observers here said that the decision to seek to hold back on the promotions came amidst the disquiet over the police handling of the investigation into an alleged assassination plot against Granger.
A Commission of Inquiry has recommended the firing of the Police Commissioner and for sanctions to be taken against a number of other senior officers.
Last Friday, Police Commissioner, Seelall Persaud, was sent on leave “in the public interest” on the same day he was due to return to resume duty at the end of four months of accumulated leave.
Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan wrote the top cop indicating that “it is the considered opinion of the administration that you should be and you are hereby directed to proceed on special leave with effect from November 24, 2017 until further notice”.
Persaud, who joined the GPF in 1989, was confirmed Police Commissioner in March, 2015 by then President, Donald Ramotar. He will attain retirement age on April 18, 2018. – CMC