Relative of former deputy PS was suspect in bomb threat at Ashmins building – senior cop tells elections COI
By Sharda Bacchus
Assistant Commissioner of Police, Edgar Thomas on Monday told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the March 2020 elections that a former Deputy Permanent Secretary had called him, requesting bail for her relative, who was a suspect in the bomb threat at the GECOM Command Centre at Ashmins building.
“On the 5th (March 2020), I received a call from one Miss Vansluytman…who at the time was the deputy PS…I think was Business (Ministry) and requested bail for her relative who was the suspect with the mischievous phone call, the bomb threat,” Thomas told the CoI which is chaired by Justice (ret’d) Stanley John.
Thomas, who is now the Head of the Presidential Guard, later told the CoI that he informed the now former PS that there is “nothing I could do,” because the matter was being death with directly by the former Commissioner of Police, Leslie James.
The News Room understands that the relative of the then PS was arrested after the Police traced the call, but to date, no charge was instituted.
The call, Thomas said was among the more than 40 he made and received from his superiors who were based at the Guyana Police Force Headquarters, Eve Leary during the period of March 5 and 6, 2020.
Out of the calls, 19 were between him and the former Commissioner of Police and 16 were with then Deputy Commissioner of Police, Maxine Graham. Another seven were based on communication with the former head of the Special Branch, Nigel Hoppie.
Asked about the origins of the phone calls, Thomas told the COI, “from my recollection…it was clear that those calls came from the same place, Police Headquarters, Young Street, Eve Leary”.
Thomas was relieved of his command as the head of Region 4A on March 5, 2020, after he reportedly refused to remove several persons, including GECOM Commissioner, Sase Gunraj, and clear the premises in the wake of a bomb threat. The instruction was reportedly given to Thomas by Senior Superintendent Phillip Azore, a rank junior to him.
Both Graham and James previously appeared before the CoI. While Graham had said she received several calls from Thomas on March 5, 2020, James had said that Thomas was unreachable.
Asked about his response to James’ claim, Thomas told the inquiry that James was a “stranger to the truth”.
“Commissioner…. maybe the Commissioner at that stage is the stranger to the truth,” Thomas said in response to a question by Justice Carl Singh.
As a matter of fact, Thomas told the Commission, that on March 5, 2020, he communicated with James “periodically” throughout the day until he “refused” to take his calls.
“The evidence presented before you indicate that I was in constant conduct with the administration of the Police Force, including the then Commissioner,” Thomas said.
When James had appeared before the CoI early last month, he said after “mayhem” erupted at the Ashmins building, he deployed additional security but his plan was foiled after Thomas was unreachable. James also highlighted that at no time did any instruction come from him to clear the building.
However, Thomas’ account of this differed. “The then commissioner James told me if I don’t want to get the people out of the building he will get the job done,” Thomas said.
Thomas had previously appeared before the CoI. His reappearance this morning was mainly for him to respond to questions from the Commission about the calls made between March 5 and 6, 2020.
Public hearings into the COI resumed on Monday following a short break.
The riggin crew was clevah bad…….good ting Bascom never showed up wid he magical computer.