‘Every Guyanese Must Look to the Police Force With Pride,’ President Tells the Chief and his Four Deputies
GEORGETOWN, GUYANA — President David Granger, on Thursday, swore in Guyana’s new Commissioner of Police, Leslie James, urging him and his deputy commissioners to ensure that they work vigorously to fulfil the mandate of the Guyana Police Force and to root out corruption and rebuild and regain public trust.
Speaking at a simple ceremony held at State House, President Granger said that the Office of Commissioner of Police is not a toy, a trinket or a tool of political favour or patronage. He noted that the security of the State and the safety of the Guyanese people rest on the Police Force and the officers who command it.
“Unless those officers are persons of integrity, intelligence and impartiality, this country will never be secure and our women and children will never be safe,” the President said.
“This country cannot move forward unless the Guyana Police Force preserves the environment, the peace and security of the State and the people to allow us all to go about our work without being harassed, without being threatened,” he added.
The President noted, “In addition to appointing the Commissioner of Police, I have decided that four Deputy Commissioners of Police would also be appointed so that they could assist the Commissioner in the duties he has to bear. One deputy commissioner for Administration, one for Operations, one for Law Enforcement and one for Intelligence. Those are the four most critical areas of Police operations in this country.”
The President pointed out that these appointments will ensure that the force is being more efficiently managed. He said this will also provide motivation to members of the Force as officers below the rank of deputy Commissioner could look forward to becoming deputies and filling those positions and there will be a high degree of specialisation so that senior officers could be selected for advanced training.
The President stated that the Police Force, for far too long, has gone through a ‘dark’ period but this must be reversed if the safety and security of Guyanese are to be assured.
“Countrywide this country faces challenges. On our western border with Venezuela, we have [migrants] coming in by the day. On the southern border, we still have aircraft landing bringing strange substances. Along our coast, we still have traces of smuggling and piracy, contraband, gun running, narcotics trafficking. Along the coastal areas, women are still being attacked and abused, robberies take place, and unfortunately, too many rogue police officers have been found to be involved in these crimes,” the President said.
He added, “We have come through a long dark period in Guyanese history. It makes me weep to think about the number of Policemen who were killed between 2000 and 2010. Never before in the history of the Police Force and it must never happen again in this country. Never before has, the Police been so badly used that many of them were accused of being complicit with narcotics traffickers, gunrunners, tax evaders and assorted smugglers. There are not many but those few have given the Police Force a bad name.”
The Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces noted that the four deputy Commissioners led by Commissioner James will have much work to do as the Guyana Police Force is the principal agency concerned with ensuring law and order and this mandate must be fulfilled.
“The Police Act is clear. The Force is charged with the prevention and detection of crime, the preservation of law and order, the preservation of the peace and suppression of internal disturbance, the protection of property, the apprehension of offenders and the due enforcement with all laws and regulations with which it is directly charged. For the Police Force to perform these functions, it cannot remain unchanged. Things change every day. The Police Force has to be reformed and you cannot build a new house with old wood. You have to select new materials, people with a new vision, people with a new commitment to break from the old bad habits and to return to the principles of good policing. To be capable, it must command the confidence of the citizens,” the Head of State noted.
He further stated that, “The public trust is important. Security sector reform is essential to maintain a Force, which is committed to citizens’ safety. That is my principle concern. This Government will resist any attempt from any quarter to reverse, to retard or to thwart the reforms in which we are about to embark and I look to this new team to promote those reforms vigorously to ensure that from year to year the citizens of this country see that the Guyana Police Force is there to serve and to protect them. We have to rebuild public trust and I am confident that we have a team of men and women who are going to rebuild that public trust. No more troubles in Guyana! We want every Guyanese citizen, every child to look with pride at the Guyana Police Force.”
Following the swearing in ceremony, the President met with the new top brass of the Force to discuss their mandate and other related issues.
Vice President and Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Mr. Sydney Allicock, who is performing the functions of Minister of Public Security, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mr. Basil Williams and Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Mr. Paul Slowe were also present at the swearing in ceremony.