“Lawless policemen have no place in a lawful force”- President

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By Bibi Khatoon

The pomp and ceremony outside Police headquarters for the opening of the annual Police officers conference was no indication that President David Granger had a celebration in mind when he took the salute.

He was here for serious business. The message was clear – the Police Force is compromised by corruption and a corrupt Force cannot serve and protect.

“A force which is contaminated by corruption cannot ensure the security of our citizens. Service in the Force must be based on values in commitment, competence and incorruptibility,” he declared.

Commander-in-Chief, President David Granger being accorded the Presidential Salute upon his arrival at the Officers’ Mess at Eve Leary

The President was later asked whether his tough remarks during the conference were due to his dissatisfaction with the Force, but he replied: “I am on the side of the Police, I am tough on crime.”

Sitting through the President’s lecture was the Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud, whose career seemed like it would have faced an unceremonious end when he was told to stay home in the public interest in late November last year; this was after he was already on leave for four months.

Commissioner of Police, Mr. Seelall Persaud delivering his remarks at the opening ceremony.

He enjoyed a remarkable career, starting with his appointment to head the Narcotics Branch in 1995 and then crime chief in 2007, a position he held until he took over the chair of Commissioner in 2014.

When he was asked to return to the job as Police Commissioner in late January, it was a chance for him to end on a high note.

Seelall Persaud proceeds on pre-retirement leave next month, but for this, his last conference with his most senior officers to lay out the plan for the next 12 months, there were no words of a salute from his ultimate boss, the President. Perhaps that will come at a farewell parade. We’ll have to wait and see.

The President was not about compliments for this 2018 speech; it was a takedown of poor management of the Force and the way corruption is dealt with.

“Transferal of corrupt officers from one branch to another or posting him from one branch to another or promoting him or demoting him from one rank to another cannot guarantee that he will change his wicked ways,” the President stated.

Heads of the Joint Services and Senior Officers of the Guyana Police Force were in attendance at the Opening Ceremony of the Police Officers’ Conference

He added that such actions undermine the best efforts of the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and of the Police Complaints Authority.

The Head of State said it is important that only persons who are “fit and proper” are appointed to the highest offices of the Force’s administration and operations.

For his part, the Police Commissioner hopes to leave the Force with a steady plan for the year ahead.

“There will be a review of the system of police prosecutions, we have found over the years, a number of negative issues associated with those operations so it is anticipated that there will be intense discussions regarding the development of command systems for commanders in order to achieve the control function of management,” Persaud said.

The 2018 officers’ conference is being hosted under the theme: “Forging ahead with effective policing through strategic human resources and operational management, partnership and professionalism.”

Seelall Persaud would be hoping that this last conference with him at the helm would bring some results.

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