Top Cop defends removal of Blanhum as Crime Chief
By Leroy Smith
It would appear that Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum has reached the end of the road in his career as a police detective, at least for now.
One day after he returned from three months of vacation leave, and sent packing from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Guyana Police Force, former Crime Chief, Wendell Blanhum’s return to that setting anytime soon is not cast in stone.
On Tuesday, December 5, Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan was asked to comment on the removal of Blanhum from the department but the minister passed the issue directly to Commissioner of Police (ag) David Ramnarine.
“Operational matters as to where Assistant Commissioners and Senior Superintendents are placed, is in the hands of the person performing the functions of Commissioner and I think that he has answered to the extent of saying that he would like to see him at this stage as deputy of Division ‘A’ and he [Blanhum] has since gone there and that, that is the position of the force and he has since gone there,” Ramjattan told the press.
Blanhum is now the Deputy Commander of the police ‘A’ division. Ramnarine, when approached for a comment on the issue indicated that the movement of Blanhum is not abnormal as he made reference to another officer who was not sent back to his original posting after returning from leave.
“You don’t want to chop and change I want to put it that way, there is an Assistant Commissioner who is in charge of crime for example, I know you want to get to the issue of Senior Superintendent Blanhum a very senior officer, but may I add as part of an explanation that Senior Superintendent Calvin Brutus was the commander of ‘C’ Division and was on leave and resumed and is right now holding at second in command operations because Senior Superintendent Mansell who held for him while he was on leave…I have asked Mansell similarly to continue as the Commander of ‘C’ Division until sometime during the greater part of the Christmas is over,” Ramnarine noted.
The Top Cop sought to justify Blanhum’s removal as Crime Chief to the fact that certain systems were put in place while Blanhum was away from the job and those systems need some time to work.
“Mr Blanhum’s reposting is also not without precedence as I have said today you, had an Assistant Commissioner of Police who was Crime Chief who was reposted and so on, so it is nothing unusual.”
When asked to give his opinion on Blanhum as Crime Chief, Ramnarine said: “Mr. Blanhum’s performance as Crime Chief is nationally known. A lot of people have commented on it including myself when I made a statement prior to him going on leave when a lot of people felt that he had been kicked out which was not necessarily so…I would not change from that position.”
Put to Ramnarine that Blanhum was one of the most successful Crime Chiefs, and whether he [Ramnarine] is happy that Blanhum is out of that department, Ramnarine said: “The nature of law enforcement does not what I would call gives me that privilege of expressing whether I am happy or sad; I am a professional, Mr Blanhum is a professional, all the officers have proven their professionalism so I will leave it at that.”
Blanhum was recommended removed from the CID by a Commission of Inquiry which investigated an alleged plot to assassinate the president of Guyana.
The report found that he failed to properly supervise the investigation of the report, that he lacks command experience and he should be placed in a department where he can get that experience. The force will however not confirm if the removal of Blanhum is in keeping with the recommendations of that COI.