Police promotions halted to investigate complaints against ranks

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By Bibi Khatoon

The halting of police promotions is to allow time to investigate complaints submitted against police officers, according to President David Granger. The President today confirmed that a letter was sent to the Police Service Commission (PSC) to halt promotions in the Guyana Police Force, noting that several complaints were received from aggrieved officers and others.

“We’ve received information, and we feel that we need to pay attention to those complaints,” he told media operatives.

The Head of State added, “there is evidence that injustice might have been done.”

Former Minister of Home Affairs, Clement Rohee recently lambasted the government for its decision, warning that there is an ulterior motive at hand to get rid of certain senior officers in the Police Force. He argued that the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the alleged plot to assassinate the President is denigrating reputations of respected officials and is setting the stage for a major shakeup in the hierarchy of the Force.

However, the President this morning dismissed those claims. He said his intention is not to impede on the work of the commission, but to delay the list until the queries are made, given their influence on the security infrastructure to the country.

“Damage could be done if persons who are not fit and proper make decisions which are injurious to public security, so we’re taking a second look at it. We want the constitution commission to function efficiently, but at the same time we want to make sure that the public can depend on the decisions which come out of those commissions as being in the best interest of the nation,” the President emphasised.

The News Room previously reported that several senior officers whose names were either mentioned in the ongoing CoI or who were even called to the stand over the last three weeks, are among the persons who were recommended for promotion by the Police Force.

The list seen by the News Room shows that the persons tipped for promotions included: Assistant Commissioner of Police (Operations) Clifton Hicken for Deputy Commissioner of Police; Crime Chief, Senior Superintendent Wendell Blanhum, for Assistant Commissioner; Head of Special Branch, Brian Eastman, for Senior Superintendent of Police; Head of Major Crimes Unit, Assistant Superintendent Mitchell Caeser, for Deputy Superintendent; and SWAT Unit leader, Deputy Superintendent Lonsdale Withrite, for Superintendent. Withrite was not a subject of the Commission of inquiry.

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