Top Cop must be given a fair chance to work – Jagdeo

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Newly appointed Commissioner of Police, Leslie James has the full support of the Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo who says the public should also give him a fair chance to serve.

“Any Commissioner of Police would have our full support. We have to support our law enforcement agencies,” Mr Jagdeo told reporters at a news conference Thursday afternoon at his Church Street office.

“If he’s going to be the Commissioner of Police, then he has to enjoy the trust of the whole country until he proves that he can’t enjoy that trust … we have to give him a fair chance to work,” Mr Jagdeo stated.

Mr Jagdeo had earlier in the day met with President David Granger where they discussed the new appointments in the Guyana Police Force (GPF).

The Constitution of Guyana provides for the President to appoint a Commissioner of Police and Deputy Commissioners after having meaningful consultations with the Opposition Leader and the Police Service Commission (PSC).

Mr Jagdeo raised with the Head-of-State some concerns regarding the process of selection of the new police leaders and what method was employed to ensure the Top Cop met his criteria of being “unbribable” and “intelligent”.

Assistant Police Commissioner David Ramnarine, who was acting at Top Cop for several months, had applied to be confirmed in the post but he did not make the cut.

Mr Jagdeo said he asked President Granger why Ramnarine was not considered, to which the Head-of-State said he had “specific reasons,” however, the President did not reveal what those reasons were.

The Opposition Leader was also concerned about the role the Chairman of the PSC, Paul Slowe played in the selection process since he was the Head of the Commission of Inquiry (COI) which made several recommendations for a shakeup in the GPF.

“You know I had a view on the purpose of that COI. I believe it was a hatchet job for some of the candidates and so I had to seek assurance from the President that that was not a factor,” Jagdeo explained.

But he said President Granger assured that Slowe had recused himself at the PSC when some of the nominees were discussed.

Jagdeo was also concerned that there was no “meaningful consultation” between him and the Head-of-State on the appointment of the new Top Cop since he was only informed of the President’s choice Thursday morning.

He explained that on Tuesday, the President’s Office supplied a list of five nominees but did not say which individuals were being considered for the various posts within the GPF.

Jagdeo said only after he wrote the President to request that he specify which individual is his nominee for the Police Commissioner, he was informed that it was Leslie James.

Nonetheless, the Opposition Leader says he has no “positive of adverse” views on James’ appointment.

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