The visits by the Top Cop

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Dear Editor,

The current acting Commissioner of Police (CoP) has started off on the right foot. In a kind of a way. He has made the rounds and issued the most pleasing sounds. Those are easy to do, since

there are now heavily embedded in national practices, to the point of being full-blown culture.

For now, I give the chief some space and time to observe and analyse how he does, what he does


differently, and what could be fairly assessed to be the level of his performance. I say this,

despite an early blemish, that is interpreted to his being torn and undecided leading to escalation

and consultation. It is part fear, part CYA, part politics, and all Guyana, which will be touched

upon in a moment.

Many tiers in the Police were covered by the acting CoP in what I would term whirlwind

moments. Communities were given commitments, reassurances were extended. Commanders

were put on notice of expectations. Sergeants and ranks all told in no uncertain manner that it is

the new day of shape up or be shipped out. To where, I will have to revisit some other time, as

to those held as holy bulls (or sacred cows) who transgress. For that remains to be seen regarding

the acting CoP’s disposition then, and the type of dispensation that follows from his hand. So

far, so good, and like I said before, there can be no quarrel with any of what the new man on the

scene has put out for public consumption. In fact, if he delivers by getting a troublingly

undisciplined Police, a widely perceived corrupt Police, and too often unprofessional, abusive,

and untoward Police to rise, despite its weaknesses and perform cleanly and consistently, then I

take my hat off to the new acting CoP. I would give him the shirt off my back, size differentials

and gratuity prohibitions duly noted.

The problem is that Guyanese have heard all of this before. In some similar speechifying and

pious pontifications, that Top Cop chant does sound like a golden oldie. Except there is nothing

golden about it, at least for citizens paying in some form or the other. To be helpful, in case the

subtleties that went over thick Guyanese heads, that means in flesh or funds. Or fears. Another

problem for the new man on the beat (sorry, in charge of the block) is that he comes with

baggage, be such perceived or real. I have my instincts, which I will spare both citizens and

chief by keeping to myself. For now. First, he is considered a certain kind of creature, one of

those animals (apologies, again, as no offense meant) that are not too welcome in the zoo that is

Guyana. Second, the spirited objections to his ascendancy to the pinnacle of the Police was not,

as contentiously publicized, about seniority. It was about the darker side of policing in this

country, and of which the new head is well aware. It is not in Region 4 either. Thus, there is this

small matter of credibility and trustworthiness, which swirls unceasingly, waspishly. The former

Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs man could enlighten, but he already took the Fifth. It is called

‘I don’t recall.’ Repeatedly. Oh, well….

Now, I turn to that nuisance blot that quickly graced the new headman on his arrival. It involved

allegations from a female worker against an attorney at law; the contradiction of an officer of the

law battling another officer the law. It is not an ordinary attorney, but one with a pedigree

possessing much connective tissue. It is termed who knows whom, as in elevated reach. It was

not something that should have been left to PR flaks and political police hacks. The acting CoP

should have been in the forefront, which would have been his best confidence-boosting card

Regrettably both the acting CoP and the Police itself went MIA, meaning mum. It is the degree

of dumbness that has dogged commissioners and the entire cohort of the Police for too long. Not

an inspiring beginning, Mister Commissioner. Maybe that should be Comrade Commissioner.
GHK Lall

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