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Public Security Minister expresses confidence in Police Commissioner

Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan on Wednesday dismissed stakeholder concerns pertaining to “strange” administrative recommendations made by Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud- virtually stating his confidence in the Police Chief.

“He (Commissioner) is not abusing  anything,” Ramjattan insisted when asked his opinion on the scrapping of the Strategic Management Department (SMD). “I thought it (SMD) outlived its time and I personally said it must go. Their contracts were not signed forever.” Unlike the beliefs of some within the security hierarchy, Ramjattan is unconvinced that the Commissioner is taking “advantage” of his confidence.

The Police Commissioner confirmed his recommendation to the Security Ministry the dismissal of civilian-ran SMD had outlived its purpose. He has said that the police divisions have competent persons to conduct research and advise on counter-crime measures in a timelier manner than the SMD. He also noted his recommendation that a software geared at firearm management with the capability of immediately identifying bogus licenses and illegal firearms be put on hold since not only were their other items of priority on the police agenda, but adequate tools such as computers are not available to facilitate the software.

Demerara Waves was informed however that the police force has endorsed and accepted the firearm management software that will significantly aid in managing all information relating to legal and illegal firearms and its issuance. It is recognised that this software will also spot any glitches or irregularities in the system. “It will be difficult for persons to now sell guns. That is, they can’t issue legal firearms without following the right procedures.”

However, those explanations have not convinced those stakeholders who believe that the Commissioner is aiming for a tighter grip on the force by “abusing the confidence of the Minister.”

Seelall was appointed Police Commissioner by the former People’s Progressive Party Administration some time before the 2015 General Elections, and remains at the helm even after the change in government.  The constitutional prerogative of the appointment of a Police Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner rests with the President after consultation with the Opposition Leader.

This move had seemed highly unlikely since the now government while in Opposition had objected to Seelall’s appointment as Police Commissioner.

President David Granger, while Opposition Leader had objected to Seelall’s Commissioner in consultations with then President Donald Ramotar.

Hours after being sworn in as President following the May 2015 general elections, Granger had told reporters that he had objected to Seelall’s appointment because of the promotion of two policemen who had tortured a teenage murder suspect by setting alight his genitals with methylated spirits. One of the policemen was later sacked and the other, whose appointment is governed by the Police Service Commission, was transferred to the Canine Branch of the police force.