— threatens legal action against news agency
By Derwayne Wills
A REPORT from Citizens’ Report, an online news agency formerly located in the Bharrat Jagdeo Foundation building in Queenstown, Georgetown, has left the public relations arm of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) scrambling to deny allegations of unfair treatment meted out to two women officers.
In a contentious report published by Citizens’ Report, it was disclosed that Deputy Police Superintendent Denise Griffith-Jacobis had been unfair treated because she had ordered the closing of an Alberttown ‘strip club’ while Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud was inside the premises.
The article went on to cite “top ranking sources in the Force” who were allegedly concerned that, following the matter, DSP Griffith-Jacobis was transferred to the courts from the Number 3 Sub-Division of ‘A’ Division because of the alleged ‘strip club’ incident; and further, that she was denied overseas training.
The online news agency is believed to be closely aligned with the People’s Progressive Party (PPP). From its initial report, the Alberttown club was allegedly closed in keeping with the 02:00am curfew imposed by Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan sometime last year.
The police statement denied that Commissioner Persaud had entered any strip club in Guyana “other than for professional purposes”, of which none was done within the last five years.
On the matter of Griffith-Jacobis’s transfer, the police statement said this “had to do with poor performances [of the officer in question] highlighted in consistent reports provided by the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR)”.
Griffith-Jacobis’s alleged denial of access to overseas training was also cited on the Citizens’ Report website, where it was noted that she “completed her law studies locally and had an option to travel to two different countries to complete the final leg of her studies so that she can become a lawyer, but the Force — on the instructions of the Commissioner — has not granted the officer the leave to have these studies completed”.
In arresting the untruth, the police said Griffith-Jacobis had not completed her studies at the University of Guyana, which is a prerequisite for her to pursue studies at the University of the West Indies (UWI) in Trinidad and Tobago.
Another officer who had applied along with Griffith-Jacobis had been granted permission in 2014 to pursue studies at UWI, and “should be completing his studies shortly”, the statement continued.
The Force distanced itself from allegations of preferential treatment in granting leave for officers to pursue studies abroad, saying such permissions “is outside the control of the Force, since it requires the Government’s approval”.
The Citizens’ Report article cited the case of another officer, an unnamed female Superintendent who was allegedly barred from pursuing a temporary job opportunity abroad for which she had applied and had successfully acquired.
The post with an international sports body, according to Citizens’ Report, was open to female security personnel in several countries, and entailed some amount of training abroad, paid for in-full by the body.
The police statement said the training “was not supported by the Force because the said officer was disciplined for breach of standard operational procedures regarding her engagements with the sports institution”.
The police release said the Office of Professional Responsibility is investigating the “provision of false information to the media”, adding that “it is likely that legal action would be taken by the Commissioner of Police against those responsible for Citizens’ Report”.