Blanhum for Christmas – Ramjattan
By Leroy Smith
Crime Chief, Wendell Blanhum remains a pillar within the Guyana Police Force and his prolonged leave is no indication that there is any attempt to remove him, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan said today.
“I notice that a lot of people are saying that we are trying to get rid of Blanhum. Blanhum is a serious pillar in this Police Force… understand that and he has done a fantastic job in the opinion of the government and in the opinion of the Minister.
“And yes, he is entitled, because I need Blanhum back around Christmas time when of course there is always a shoot-up of crimes” Ramjattan told a press conference held by his party – the AFC.
Blanhum’s leave was approved for September – December, 2017.
Ramjattan said that he approved Blanhum’s leave, which was requested earlier this year but was placed on hold to facilitate a number of occurrences’ including the Commission of Inquiry into an alleged plot to assassinate President David Granger.
As a result, Ramjattan noted that Assistant Commissioner of Police Paul Williams will only be the crime chief temporarily. Williams takes up the acting Crime Chief post today.
Ramjattan confirmed that Senior Superintendent Das, who was slated to take up the slack while Blanhum proceeded on leave, indicated that he was not willing to serve as the acting Crime Chief. Ramjattan added that Das himself also have a huge amount of leave to proceed on.
Minister Khemraj said that initially there was an argument for Senior Superintendent Ravindradat Budhram to act as the Crime Chief in Blanhum’s absence but Budhram who has been doing a “good piece of work” in ‘F’ Division is needed most in that division. Budhram sat in the seat of the Crime Chief for less than 48 hours after a decision was made to replace him as the acting Crime Chief.
He made it clear that the decision to send the Commander back to his division had nothing to do with any investigations into the conduct of Budhram.
Khemraj Ramjattan fiercely denied that Budhram’s posting to the Crime Chief’s office was never executed but that there was only a recommendation made for him to hold the post.
However, the Minister could not say what were the reasons behind Senior Superintendent Edmond Cooper moving to ‘F’ Division where he had already taken up the responsibilities of Commander.
When the minister was asked if as of Monday the division had two sitting commanders, both at the rank of Senor Superintendent, he could not say.
Ramjattan’s explanation mirrored that of the acting Commissioner of Police David Ramnarine , who said that Budhram’s placement at the Criminal Investigation Department was just for a matter of days.
“…the initial decision was made to have Senior Superintendent R. Budhram ‘fill the breach’ at the Criminal Investigation Department, Headquarters, Eve Leary temporarily until such time, that is a matter of days when a more informed decision would have been made,” Ramnaraine stated in a press release earlier in the day.
This contradicts the claims by the Minister that Budhram was never posted or taken up the post as Crime Chief acting.