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…says controversy over GPF promotions can injure the image of the Force’s Administration
Former Minister of Home Affair, Clement Rohee is concerned by the controversy surrounding the promotion of senior ranks of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and has cautioned that if the matter is not rightfully resolved it could lead to greater troubles for the Force.
On New Year’s Eve, Police Commissioner (ag) Nigel Hoppie announced the promotion of over 290 members of the Force to higher rank. However, this has now been put on hold after Senior Superintendent of Police, Calvin Brutus moved to the High Court to block the promotion of a number of senior ranks who have pending disciplinary matters against them.
Brutus contented that the Police Service Commission (PSC) engages in questionable and unlawful practice in its decisions on the promotions. It was Hoppie who, in his New Year’s message, explained that it is the Police Commissioner promotes ranks up to that of Sergeant, while the Force recommends and the PSC promotes from Inspectors upwards.
He’d also noted that the end of 2020 signaled the end of a period where members of the Law Enforcement community were faced with allegations of robbery, manslaughter, assault and corruption which has caused the GPF to begin to review its modus operandi and standard operational procedures.
In a public Facebook post and Letter to the Editor, Rohee stated that a number of senior superintendents with a legitimate expectation to be promoted to the rank of Assistant Commissioner are “peeved” because the Police Force’s administration did not recommend them to be promoted. Furthermore, he said that the administration of the GPF is being called into question which puts the Force in a precarious position.
“To have a controversy in the public domain over promotions at the senior level of the GPF at this critical stage in the development of the Guyana Police Force and moreso, at a time when government is making every effort at demonstrating its commitment to a strong and vibrant democracy, certainly does not auger well for the image Force’s administration,” the former Minister stated.
He added: “Whatever the human resource internal dynamics within the GPF, the controversy over promotions, if not urgently solved to the satisfaction of those affected, can potentially prove unhelpful to succession planning at the GPF.”
The former Minister said that he finds concerning reports that the alleged disciplinary offences go as far back as three years or more when the Police (Discipline) Act Ch:17:01 stipulates that “Every alleged commission of an offence against discipline under this Act shall be investigated as soon as practicable”.
“Surely someone has to answer the question why did the Force’s administration not act expeditiously to bring closure to the outstanding disciplinary matters?” Rohee stated. He supports the Chief Justice’s decision to put the promotions on hold.
He pointed out that 2015 and 2020, 12 of 19 ranks comprised the strength of the GPF at the rank of Superintendent. Of the 12, he said that 3 were on the 2021 promotion list to the rank of Assistant Commissioner while 9 were not promoted. He highlighted that it is among that 9 that there appears to be much disquiet.
Rohee said that the Administration ought to address the legitimate expectation of the ranks in the bracket of Senior Superintendent as the actions of Hoppie thus far have not been well digested.
In his New Year’s message Hoppie had consoled the disappointed stating: “To those who have not been promoted I urge that you be patient and murmur not, one day you will reap your just reward.”
However, Rohee contends: “While it is perhaps the succession line-up, if not competition that has triggered the controversy over promotions at the highest level of the GPF it is incumbent on the administration to address soonest, the seeming restlessness at the senior level of the GPF in the interest of the orderly and good governance of the organization.”