President to activate constitutional procedure for appointing new Police Service Commission
Having been sworn in on August 9, 2018 by former President David Granger, the life of the five-member Police Service Commission (PSC), chaired by former Assistant Commissioner of Police Paul Slowe, has ended.
The life of each Commission runs for three consecutive years.
On Monday, President Irfaan Ali, who had suspended the entire PSC on June 16, 2021, said the constitutional procedure for a new Commission would be activated to ensure that a functioning PSC is in place soon.
But the Chair of that Commission, according to the Constitution, needs to be appointed by the President after meaningful consultations with the Leader of the Opposition.
Such consultations have failed to materialize over the last year with Dr. Ali insisting that he will only meet Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon once he accepts his government to be legitimate.
The President is allowed to appoint the four members following nominations from the National Assembly; consultations with the Guyana Police Force is also a requirement.
The President is also required to consult with the Chair of the PSC when appointing a Police Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner. The current Commissioner, Nigel Hoppie, acts in the position and is substantively a Deputy Commissioner.
Additionally, there are several outstanding issues even as the life of this Commission ends.
It includes the promotion of ranks within the Guyana Police Force and the President’s move to suspend the PSC for which a constitutional action has been filed to challenge the move.
Asked if he sees these issues being resolved by the appointment of a new Commission, Dr. Ali said “I’m sure the new commission would work towards resolving the outstanding issues.
“… and ensure we move forward in a professional way and in a manner befits the functioning of the Commission.,” he added.
Oral arguments in the case filed by the PSC were put off on Monday and are expected to commence on August 30.
Attorney General Anil Nandlall has filed an Application in the High Court on behalf of the President for him to be struck out as a named respondent in the constitutional action because the president is immune from prosecution.
In the application, the PSC wants a declaration that the suspension of the Chairman and members of the PSC by President Ali was contrary to and in violation of the Constitution of Guyana, in particular articles 225 (6) and 210 (3).
In relation to a 2020 police promotion list, which was released by the PSC on June 28, 2021, the PSC has also asked the Court to mandate that the Secretary prepares formal letters to the promoted ranks and a government order giving effect to the promotions be prepared.
The government has rejected the list.