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…this time over the Police Service Commission’s decision to ‘team up’ with MP Mahipaul to challenge Gov’t in court
As part of Government’s quest to remove the Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC) Paul Slowe from Office, Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d), Mark Phillips has written Slowe again, this time asking him to show cause when he should not be hacked over the Commission’s involvement in a constitutional case challenging the Government.
In a letter addressed to Slowe, a retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, on June 1, 2021, Prime Minister Phillips expressed concern that the Police Service Commission had teamed up with Opposition Member of Parliament, Ganesh Mahipaul to institute proceedings against the Government in the High Court.
According to the PM, Slowe had also retained Opposition Members of Parliament, Roysdale Forde, SC; Khemraj Ramjattan, Raphael Trotman, Geeta Chandan-Edmond and Amanza Walton.
“The Commission and its members are named as Applicants in the proceedings and are expressly relying on the Affidavit evidence of Mr Mahipaul in the proceedings, and from all indications, the case has political overtones and has the appearance of a political contest between the Government and the Opposition,” the Prime Minister said.
The case in question not only involved the Opposition MP, and the Police Service Commission but other constitutional bodies challenging the passage of the Fiscal Management and Accountability (Amendment) Act of 2021 on the basis that it has impaired the financial independence and autonomy of the Constitutional Agencies, listed in the Third Schedule to the Constitution.
But the Prime Minister said that the Police Service Commission’s involvement in the case signals a bias and partisan approach.
“By the Commission’s posture, the public perception is that the Commission and its members have abandoned all appearances of impartiality and have joined forces with the Opposition politicians to engage in an open, partisan, political contest with the Government,” the Prime Minister said.
He noted that the Constitution, the supreme law of Guyana, demands that the Commission and its members be free from actual or perceived political bias, influence and interference. He said the Commission at all times must appear to be independent, impartial and autonomous.
“The joinder of the Commission and its members in these legal proceedings and their professed alliance with the political opposition, render you and the Commission in breach of those constitutional duties,” Phillips said.
He said too that members of Guyana Police Force have complained that the Commission is no longer free from political bias, impartial independent and autonomous.
“In the exercise of the powers vested in me by virtue of Article 225 of the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, I hereby direct that you do show case, in writing why I ought not to advise, His Excellency the President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, that your removal as Chairman of the Police Service Commission be investigated, as a result thereof,” the Prime Minister told Slowe.
Slowe has until June 8, 2021 to response to the Prime Minister in writing. The Prime Minister’s letter to Slowe comes days after the PSC Chairman accused President Irfaan Ali of attempting to influence the promotion of key senior police officers within the Force. Earlier in May, Slowe along with eight other retired and current police officers including Police Service Commissioner Clinton Conway, was charged with conspiracy to defraud the Guyana Police Force of $10M. It is alleged that the accused failed to revise the Police Force’s Standing Orders, though being paid millions, however, Slowe and Conway have rejected the allegation, and doing so, contended that the charges were politically motivated.