New Top Cop charged to restore public trust, push security reform
President and Commander of the armed forces, David Granger has charged new Commissioner of Police, Leslie James to weed out corruption from the police force, restore public trust and push the Security Sector Reform project.
“You cannot build a new house with old wood,” the President told the Top Cop along with his newly appointed Deputies following a swearing-in ceremony at State House on Thursday.
Attending the ceremony were Chair of the Police Service Commission (PSC), Paul Slowe; Attorney General, Basil Williams; Vice President, Sydney Allicock and other officials.
The Former Commissioner of Police, Seelall Persaud retired earlier in the year but not before landing himself in more than one scandals.
Persaud came in for scathing criticisms following a Commission of Inquiry into an alleged plot to assassinate the President in 2017 and again when it was found that he approved a license for himself for a private gun dealership.
Even though he applied for the post and is the most senior rank in the Guyana Police Force, David Ramnarine, who was acting in the Top Cop position for almost a year, was not considered by the President for the position.
“The Office of the Commissioner of Police is not a toy, it is not a trinket, it is not a tool of political or patronage.
The safety of the Guyanese rests on the police force and the person who manages it,” the Head-of-State said at the swearing-in ceremony.
Mr Ramnarine was not present at the swearing in of the new Police Commissioner.
The President, for the first time in decades, appointed four Deputy Commissioners in the names of Mr. Lyndon Alves, Ms. Maxine Graham, Mr. Nigel Hoppie and Mr. Paul Williams with immediate effect.
The Head of State noted that the Guyana Police Force (GPF) needs to return to “the principles of good policing.”
Mr. Granger highlighted various crimes including piracy smuggling, robbery, contraband and various gun crimes among others, noting that too many rouge policemen have been found to be involved in these crimes.
The President said “never before have the police been so badly used that many of them have been accused of being complicit of gun runnings…” and other crimes, noting that “those few have given the police a bad name.”
He told the new leaders that public trust is vital to the success of the work of the police and they must work to eliminate the lawlessness the people complain about every day.
“This government will resist any attempt to reverse or to thwart the reforms on which we are about to embark and I look to this new team to promote those reforms vigorously,” President Granger noted.
Leslie James is the 12th Commissioner of Police to be appointed. Mr James previously served as Crime Chief, Head of the Special Branch/Intelligence, and Divisional Commander of Georgetown- East Bank Demerara, and West Demerara.
Prior to appointing Mr James, President Granger had noted that he wanted a Police Commissioner who is “unbribable and intelligent.”