New police PROs were handpicked

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…Benn confirms posts were not advertised

Responding to questions from the Opposition on the controversial Corporate Communications Unit (CCU) of the Guyana Police Force (GPF), Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn revealed on Thursday that the positions for the Communications Coordinator and the Public Relations Officer (PRO) were not advertised.

In the National Assembly, written responses to questions posed to Benn by Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) Geeta Chandan-Edmond were circulated. When asked whether the positions were advertised and what criteria were used in selecting these individuals, Benn responded: “These positions were not advertised.”

The CCU, which was established in February 2021, is being led by Mark Ramotar and Stan Gouveia. Chandan-Edmond submitted the list of questions to the Parliament on April 15 in her quest to ascertain the legality and functionality of the CCU. There were questions about the men being civilians and whether their hiring was done transparently.

Questioned by Chandan-Edmond whether the Unit was created in accordance with the Standing Orders of the Guyana Police Force and, if not, under which authority it was established, Minister Benn responded that the Unit was established “as part of the Strategic Plan of the Guyana Police Force.”

It was noted that the Communications Coordinator carries home a salary on the GS:12 scale, which range from $166,824-$338,517 while the PRO benefits from the GS:11 scale, which range from $141,741- $292,647. Asked whether the roles of two overlap those of police officers who have been trained and assigned to perform similar tasks, the Minister responded in the negative.

“The roles of the new employees of the Communication Unit do not overlap those of the police officers who are attached to the Uni, these enhance the work of the Communication Unit. Important to note is that the personnel in question are qualified in their respective [roles] with relevant years of experience,” he stated.

Apart from Gouveia and Ramotar, Benn said that there are no other civilians attached to the Communications Unit. There are 9 police officers in the Unit and a total of 11 staffers.

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