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Sometimes i wonder why elections in Guyana are so inherently incredible whether or not they be National, Regional or otherwise. On May 10, 2021 the Guyana Police Force held two separate elections at Police Headquarters, Eve Leary and elected ranks to serve on the executive body of the Police Association. Two separate groups were elected to serve in the same positions. Editor, please permit me to deviate a bit from the elections and look at what the Laws of Guyana say about the Police Association:
Section 43 (1) of the Police Act Chapter 16: 01 states, ” For the purpose of enabling inspectors, subordinate officers and constables to consider and bring to the notice of the Commissioner and Minister matters affecting their general walfare and efficiency, there shall be established an organisation to be called the Police Association which shall act through Branch Boards, Central Confrences and a Central Committee as provided for by rules made under section 44. ”
Section 44 states, ” The Commissioner may with the approval of the Minister makes rules for the Constitution and governance of the Police Association and as to any matters appertaining thereto. ”
Section 43 (2) states, ” The Police Association shall be entirely independent of and unassociated with anybody outside of the Force and shall have no power to make representations in relation to any matter of discipline, promotion, transfer or leave or any other matter affecting individuals.”
Back to the elections.
Recently, Senior Superintendent of Police Calvin Brutus who is masquerading as a Deputy Commissioner of Police and actively exercising a lot of power unjustly, in a correspondence to Nigel Hoppie who is performing the duties of Commissioner, opined that the chairman and other executive members of the Police Association were not operating in the best interest of the Force. There is a bigger picture and hidden agenda which I may explain in another article. He informed the Commissioner that an election must be held to elect new members and fixed May 10, 2021 as the date for the election. The Commissioner told him that according to the rules of the Association the next election was due March 2023 as election was held last year March and that no election must be held before that date. I am aware that Commissioner Laurie Lewis had changed the rule of the Association for election to be held every three years instead of yearly. This was done with the approval of Minister of Home Affairs, Ronald Gajraj in accordance with Section 44 of the Police Act Chapter 16:02
Subsequent Commissioners allowed the status quo to remain. As is his custom, Brutus went outside of the Force and received directions that the election be held on the date stated by him.
Brutus influenced the selection of persons to attend a meeting at the Police Headquarters. It was held behind closed doors. Surprisingly, he served as the returning officer and emerged with the news that Inspector Prem Narine was elected Chairman and Inspector Kuldip Vice Chairman among other elected to serve on the Association.
Later that same day on instructions of Hoppie another election was held and Inspector Roseann Forde was reelected Chairperson. Several other ranks were elected to serve in various positions of the Association. The following day, Hoppie quite rightly vitiated both elections, but, the very next day he was called to two Government Ministries and dragged over the hot coals. Subseqently, Hoppie rescinded his previous letter vitiating both elections and ordered that the election that elected Prem Narine was legal and the one that reelected Roseann Forde was illegal. In his written directive dated May 12, 2021 to R.Forde, who he address as Chairman of the Police Association, Hoppie stated, ” … upon a more mature consideration of the relevant issues and after reviewing the relevant issues and provisions of the Police Act and Standing Orders bearing upon this matter and upon legal advice received I wish to withdraw my letter dated 11/5 / 2021 in relation to the subject at caption.” Hoppie further stated, ” In my capacity as Commissioner of Police I am directing that the first elections held at 10.00 on Tuesday April 11,2021 be recognised as valid and binding elections of office bearers to the Guyana Police Association and that the persons duly elected at the elections be recognised as the office holders of the offices to which they were elected. ” Wow!
These elections massively violated the Laws of Guyana Chapter 16:01 and the Guyana Police Force Standing Orders No 35. According to the Chairman and the Executives no consultation was done with them prior to the election; members of the Branch Boards, Central Confrences and Central Committee were not consulted as required by the Laws of Guyana. Arrangement for voting as set out in Standing Orders was dashed through the window; there were no Force Orders publication for the information of all ranks; the procedure for counting votes was not complied with; no ballot boxes and elections materials were in place; ballot boxes were not allocated to any of the ten regional police divisions. Among a long list of violations, is that the Rules for Procedures at Meetings of Branch Boards, Central Confrences and the Central Committee as stated in the Guyana Police Force Standing Orders No 35 did not come into play. The violations of the Laws of Guyana and the Police Standing Orders were so widespread and transparent that the elections must be considered as null and void.
At the Police Officers Annual Confrence 2021 their pastor in a prayer for the Force highlited many ills included division and disunity in the GPF. He ended up in hot water. He had to be rescued by the highest ranking man in the land. Disunity and division which are at the apex of management in the GPF have now manifested themselves in a very big way at ‘ground zero’ to include chief inspectors, inspectors, sergeants, corporals, lance corporals and constables who make up the vast majority of the Force. This sad state of affairs must be corrected. A menu of measures must be put in place to bring back sanity to the GPF. The members of the Asociation elected last year must be allowed to serve their term unless the general ranks feel otherwise and call for a new, free, fair and transparent election and vote them out of office. Moving forward, the time is ripe for the appointment of a substantive Commissioner of Police, not an acting Commissioner or a Deputy Commissioner to perform the duties of the Commissioner. Commissioner Leslie James demitted office on May 01, 2021, so there is a vacancy for a Commissioner. Also there are vacancies for at least three Deputy Commissioners. The appointments of Commissioner and Deputy Commissioners are Presidential Appointments. All the President has to do is to have meaningful consultations with the Leader of the Opposition and the Chaiperson of the Police Service Commission after the Chairperson would have consulted with other members of the Commission and make the appointment. It is the same procedure for appointment of Deputy Commissioners. This is clearly set out in Article 211 of the Constitution Of Guyana. The appointment does not call for any agreement as is the case of the appointments of the Chief Justice and the Chancellor of the Judiciary. The Comissioner must be allowed to take full command and control of the Guyana Police Force. In doing so he must perform his duties without favour or affection, malice or ill will and to the best of his skill and knowledge discharge all the duties of his office faithfully according to law, so help him God. The police cannot do effective policing without God. If the police want to be effective they must read the Holy Bible, the Qur’an, the Bhagavad-Gita and other holy books. They are numerous stories therein that will enlighten law enforcement officers how to be effective in the discharge of their duties. May God be with all members of the Guyana Police Force and the movers and shakers of the Force.
Let me be pellucid. I hold no brief for any group or member of the Force. These views alluded to above are my personal views. I have an abiding interest in law enforcement particularly the Guyana Police Force. I gave thirty nine years of high quality and continuous service to that noble institution. Thanks to the media my candid views on law enforcement are frequently ventilated for public consumption. Last but not least and contrary to the perception of a limited few I am an apolitical person.
To God be the glory.
Assistant Commissioner of Police