…President points to lapses in operations in Police Force’s operations
…says Slowe CoI made ‘very strong recommendations’
“VERY strong recommendations” have been included in the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) report on the alleged plot to assassinate President David Granger, even as it confirms that there have been major lapses within the operations of the Guyana Police Force (GPF), thereby affecting its efficiency.
This is according to President David Granger, who spoke with reporters on the sideline of the launch of the Region Four Regional, Agricultural and Commercial Exhibition (RACE) at the Ramada Georgetown Princess Hotel,on Friday.
It has been approximately one week since the CoI report on the alleged plot was handed over to the President by retired Assistant Police Commissioner Paul Slowe.
Though the report has not yet been placed before Cabinet for consideration, President Granger disclosed that “some very strong recommendations” have been made.
“Even persons who have been following the day-to-day reports would realise that there has been a significant lapse in professionalism at a very high level of the Guyana Police Force,” the President told reporters. Stating that the matter is of concern, the Head of State added that the report “has brought to light some serious deficiencies.”
“I am very confident that the work that Colonel Russell Combe is doing will point to ways in which we can correct the deficiencies. You know the important thing is to ensure that we get information so that we can correct faults; it is not a witch hunt, we are trying to make the law enforcement agency more efficient,” the President stated. Colonel Combe is the former top United Kingdom military officer who is assisting Guyana with the implementation of the Security Sector Reform Action Plan (SSRAP) which forms part of a UK-funded initiative aimed at improving the security sector here.
President Granger gave the assurance that when the report is deliberated upon at the level of Cabinet, the public would be informed. Earlier in March, a Grove, East Bank Demerara (EBD) businessman, Andriff Gillard,had alleged that he was offered $7M by Nazim Khan to assassinate President Granger in 2015, shortly after he took office.
Gillard, who was among a long list of persons who testified before the commission, accused officers of the Criminal Investigation Department’s Major Crimes Unit, headed by Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum, of not taking his report seriously. He based his allegation on the basis that accused brother Imran Khan has close ties to Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud.
Attorney Selwyn Pieters, in his final submission to the commission in mid-August, argued that the Guyana Police Force deliberately tried to minimise the evidence that would support claims made by Gillard. Pieters contended that the interference by the police commissioner in the investigation while he was on annual leave represented an obstruction of justice, noting that Persaud as the head of the institution ought to have treated the matter with much more seriousness.
“It is our submission that the evidence produced during the CoI clearly presents a course of calculated, coordinated, and deliberate conduct to minimise the evidence that would support any claims made by Gillard, and enhance any claims made by Khan that the report of the complainant was false or fabricated,” he stated.
Pieters had called on Commissioner Slowe to reject the submissions that the police had approached the case objectively.