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Brumell should go at retirement age- Granger… But who’s the next Top Cop?

Deputy Police Commissioner, Seelall Persaud (blue shirt) , Assistant Commisisioner Balram Persaud (left) and Assistant Commissioner, George Vyphuis (centre)

Guyana’s two top political leaders are opposed to an application process to fill the post of Police Commissioner when it becomes vacant, but Opposition Leader David Granger says Leroy Brumell must go when he reaches retirement age.

Brumell attains the age of 55 next month, but so far there is no word whether he would be retained on contract or on a month-to-month basis.

Both the Police Commissioner and Home Affairs Minister, Clement Rohee recently declined to say whether the top cop would remain on the job. So far, he has not proceeded on pre-retirement leave.

A source close to Brumell has, however, said that he has not been approached though that is not the clearest signal yet about whether he would remain at the helm.

The Opposition Leader last week told Demerara Waves Online News that he preferred to see Brummel leave office on the attainment of retirement age. “Generally, I am in support of the legal sequence of events and if the law requires him to go off at a certain time, he should go off and the person next in line or the persons recommended succeed him,” said Granger.

Granger, a retired Brigadier of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), stressed the need for the Guyana Police Force to have a succession plan to allow for a smooth transition from one commissioner to the next. He highlighted the importance of a Commissioner of a Police being competent in discharging the functions of that office.

Asked whether he supported an application process as he had been advocating for the posts of Chancellor and Chief Justice, Granger said he did not believe that believe that was the best option. “I don’t believe that might be necessary. I would wait to see how the nominations go…I don’t think it would be appropriate to advertise for all of those positions,” he said, adding there was no gridlock in the appointment of the head of the Police Force.

President Donald Ramotar has also dismissed the idea of an application process, saying that the constitutional process of meaningful consultations with the Opposition Leader has worked well. “They have procedures already well established, well laid down on how these things are done and they have worked well in the past. I don’t see why it shouldn’t work well now,” he told Demerara Waves Online News.

It is unclear what specific criteria are used by the President and Opposition Leader to arrive at nominations for the post of Police Commissioner, except that the Guyanese leader nominates and the Opposition Leader can veto or approve.

Almost conventionally, the Crime Chief acts as Police Commissioner and is next in line to become the top cop.

The current Crime Chief is Deputy Police Commissioner, Seelall Persaud, the holder of a Bsc. Degree in Public Management and a Post Graduate Diploma in International Studies and a Certificate Course for Senior Executives in National and International Security from Harvard University.

While Persaud has not headed any of the Divisions or engaged in major violent anti-crime operations since joining the force almost 30 years ago, sources said the high ranking detective has acquired significant experience in the domestic and international fight against narcotics having served as Head of the Narcotics Branch, Secretary to the Joint Anti-Narcotic Operations Committee, Chairman o the Caribbean Working Group of the International Drug Conference and Chairman of the Caricom Standing Committee on Intelligence. Persaud, 50, pursued the Stand Officers Course at the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) and investigating courses at the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Scottish Police College.

Others in line are Assistant Commissioners Balram Persaud, George Vyphuis and David Ramnarine.

Assistant Persaud’s career has been tainted by a charge of treason but he was pardoned after the change of government in 1992. Concerns had been raised in the past in some quarters about a number of pro-government comments that had appeared on his Facebook page.

The former Divisional Commander has studied at the Government Technical Institute (GTI) and has pursued studies in Security Management at the Institute of Distance and Continuing Education (IDCE) of the University of Guyana.

In the case of Assistant Commissioner Ramnarine, the Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee had publicly expressed a lack of confidence in him after he had publicly stated that he had had to raise funds from Bartica businesses to feed police ranks during the 2011 election period. That was after questions were raised about how GUY$90 million had been spent in the various divisions at that time. Ramnarine, who has several years of command and operational experience, is the holder of a certificate in Security Management.

Similarly, Assistant Commissioner Vyphuis has been Commander of a number of divisions before moving on to head the Immigration Department where he oversaw the introduction of the Machine Readable Passports and the rehabilitation of the Immigration Headquarters. The holder of a Diploma in Social Work is again serving as Commander for the densely populated and complex ‘A’ Division.

The Opposition Leader’s talk of succession planning comes at a time when the five-member Police Service Commission (PSC) is virtually inactive ever since the death of one of its members, Dennis Morgan, in November 2012.  The Home Affairs Minister has acknowledged that the absence of the PSC has temporarily stymied promotion of officers in the Force, from the level of Inspector to Assistant Commissioner of Police. “This matter is actively engaging our attention.”

Rohee has also announced that the Home Affairs Ministry has asked the Office of the President to approve an increase in the Guyana Police Force Establishment at the level of Assistant Superintendent to allow for the creation of posts to facilitate the promotion of Cadet Officers.

Currently, two Senior Superintendents each holding a Bachelor of Laws Degree and one Superintendent has a Masters in Business Administration and a Degree in Public Management are among those likely to be promoted whenever the PSC is fully constituted and decides on appointments.