AMID a scandal of him approving gun licences for himself, Commissioner of Police Seelall Persaud on Wednesday bade farewell to the Guyana Police Force after serving for 33 years.
Though his retirement will take effect on March 5, the outgoing Top Cop’s farewell parade was held on Wednesday at the Police Sports Club Ground, Eve Leary, Georgetown, with hundreds of persons gathered at the Kingston facility. The event started just after 16:00hrs. As Persaud’s vehicle drove onto the Police Sports Club ground, many spectators jumped to their feet and applauded him.
But it was not only the spectators who greeted the outgoing police commissioner with cheers, but many of his junior ranks. Seelall, dressed neatly in his uniform, received a general salute from the parade after which he reviewed the parade. But it was the drill display, dancing and beating of the retreat by the Police Military Band and singing by the Police String Band that stole the show. Beautiful renditions were played by the Force’s military and string band, which saw spectators singing along.
The string band sang Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way,’ while the military band played Shah Rukh Khan’s “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai,” sending the spectators into a frenzy. But even as the activity which lasted for just over an hour was filled with entertainment, the heat caused many of those in the parade to collapse.
Meanwhile, amid the pomp and ceremony and a plethora of military displays, Persaud in his eight- minute farewell speech reminisced on his years of service within the Force. During his tenure, Persaud served in various departments and expressed gratitude to all those who encouraged and motivated him during his years of service and even thanked his subordinates, whom he said have worked well over the last four years he served as police commissioner.
The Top Cop said the various aspects of exposure he received over the years led to him becoming a better person and more particularly, a better leader. “The exposures that I have had in the Force contributed significantly to my development over the years. Local training and interaction with the Guyanese community, overseas training, regional and international; joint investigations locally, regionally, and farther afield, including some of the finest from some of the most reputable law- enforcement agencies in the world, have certainly impacted my development through a unique brand of learning experience.”
He described his tenure as a “long, eventful but enjoyable journey that I have had” and noted that there are many who are responsible for his success. Persaud thanked God, his family — whom he said stayed by his side through thick and thin – and senior officers who shaped him in his “snowballing type of development”. He also thanked his subordinates, for it was through them he said his elevation within the Force was possible. “I am leaving the Force in good health and with full confidence going into the next phase of my life,” he said, while noting that the Force over the years has done much and has crossed “some uncharted territories.” The outgoing Top Cop pointed to the Force’s ability to rebuild public trust, something he said was not possible without the help of civil society and the many faith- based organisations which assisted.
“Indeed, it has been a good journey,” he said, while cautioning members of the GPF that it is at a critical juncture where it will face several challenges.
“The Force at this time, the country at this particular time saw several factors that will contribute to an environment that is likely to pose a greater challenge to the Force in the future. Those will include the operation of western businesses in Guyana and the rise of terrorist threats within the Region,” said Persaud, who referenced the Security Sector Reform Programme (SSRP) which aims to address those challenges. He wished his successor every success and pledged his full support to the GPF as he is set to demit office on March 5. He did not hand over the mantle to a successor as one is yet to be named. Assistant Police Commissioner David Ramnarine will act as police commissioner until such time that a new police commissioner is appointed. The farewell parade was attended by Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan, Minister of Citizenship and former police commissioner, Winston Felix, along with other former police commissioners and senior police officers, Chief-of-Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, Brigadier Patrick West, and members of the diplomatic corps.