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I read that Detective Sergeant Dion Bascom was interdicted from duty in the Guyana Police Force by the acting Commissioner of Police, and placed on half pay pending the determination of a criminal charge, which alleges that he used a computer system to humiliate a person “contrary to Section 19 (5) (a) of the Cyber Crime Act No.16 of 2018.”
My immediate reaction was that the acting Commissioner has finally been advised on the correct and lawful way to deal with a rank of the Guyana Police Force who has been charged with a criminal offence; that is the rank should be interdicted from duty pending the outcome of the charge. I was pleased to see that the correct and lawful procedure was finally being followed.
My reaction was due to the fact that on July 5, 2022, the acting Commissioner dismissed from the Guyana Police Force sergeant Damien Mc Lennon, corporal Triston Simon and lance corporal Kristoff De Nobregia who were charged with varying criminal offences in relation to the murder of Quindon Bacchus, which took place at Haslington Village, East Coast Demerara on June 10, 2022.
That action by the acting Commissioner caused me to pen a letter to the media pointing out that it was unlawful for him to dismiss those ranks because they were charged criminally. I stated that an important tenet in any society governed by the rule of law is that persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty. The dismissal of those ranks without due process was unlawful, and an egregious display of power and incompetence.
There is one part of the interdiction notice to Sergeant Dion Bascom that I find strikingly unusual. The part states “your failure to attend court and to be available when summoned by the Guyana Police Force may result in you being absent from duty and may have consequences flowing therefrom”. How can a rank who is interdicted from duty be absent from duty?
Bascom after appearing to answer the above mentioned charge was placed on bail by the presiding Magistrate. If he fails to comply with any of the conditions of his bail, including failing to attend court, it is the presiding magistrate who has to decide on the course of action to be taken. Not the police. The Magistrate has to decide whether or not a warrant should be issued for his arrest. If a warrant is issued for his arrest, then and only then, can the police act to execute the warrant.
Another worrying aspect of the interdiction notice is the part which states “you are not permitted to enter any Police Station or Compound except to make a report”. I find this part of concern because it was stated that as a condition of his bail Bascom was instructed by the presiding Magistrate to report to the police at specified times.
If the acting Commissioner is instructing Bascom not to enter any Police Station or compound except to make a report how will he be able to comply with that particular condition of his bail?
The action of the acting Commissioner referred to above brings to mind The Peter Principle, which states that “everyone rises to their level of incompetence”. Clearly the acting Commissioner has reached his.