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Head of Police Department lashes back at Police Comissioner

Patrick Mentore

Patrick Mentore

The outgoing Head of the Guyana Police Force’s Strategic Management Department (SMD), Patrick Mentore has reacted sharply to criticisms by Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud’s assertions about that unit which has been ordered closed.

Set up several years ago on the recommendation of a British consultancy firm, Capita Symmonds to implement a Strategic Management Plan, Seelall said the unit is being shut down on the basis that it has outlived its usefulness and  police divisions are providing more timely analyses of crime trends to influence operations.

But Mentore, a former Assistant Superintendent of Police at the Guyana Police Force, accused Seelall of being uncooperative with the SMD since its formation. “What I was not prepared for was the uncooperativeness from the current then Deputy Commissioner of Police.  The first manifestation of this attitude was his refusal to prepare and submit an action plan for his area of responsibility ‘Performance’ under the Strategic Plan by claiming that I did not have the authority to ask him as Deputy Commissioner ‘Law Enforcement’ for such a plan.  The result was that implementation phase of the strategic plan commenced some seven months later in February 2014,” said the SMD Head.

The Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan has given the green light for the phasing out of the SMD as employees’ contracts would not be renewed upon expiration.

Mentore recalled that, as part of the implementation of the law enforcement agency’s Strategic Management Plan, a top police officer could not provide information that was critical to laying the groundwork. “With respect to numerous claims that police divisions lack resources to effectively confront crime I asked if the Force was aware of inter alia: the size of respective divisions; the ratio of police to civilians; the average number of calls for assistance in a given period; the type of terrain that is required to be traversed when answering calls; and the principal economic activities.  Obviously these would support arguments for increased budgetary allocations – a point which was seemingly missed,” he said. Other areas of concern, he said, that were raised include the absence of documentation to support claims of failed efforts to build inter-sector agency cooperation and strategies on crime prevention.

Reacting to what he described as the Police Commissioner’s “churlish attack on my professional and personal character,” Mentore sought to dispel “some of the myths being fed to high officials of this government.”

Mentore said under his leadership, the SMD has made several contributions that have been either ignored or not examined at all. They include a competency framework to address the contentious issues surrounding police promotions including favouritism and nepotism and a crime prevention framework with specific reference to President David Granger’s five areas of concern which he stated at the 2015 annual officers’ conference.  “It should be noted that an operational plan took over four weeks to be drafted after some confusion as to what was required – a new strategic plan or an operational plan.”

Touching on the issue of succession planning, he said that “remains a buzz word in the GPF with no real serious effort being made to design such a plan.”  “This remains the prime reason why officers with accumulated leave take advantage and fail to proceed on vacation.  There is also no career development focus and matters are decided in an ad hoc manner.  No one could advise on what the annual attrition rate was/is in the absence of a working human resource strategy,” he said.

Mentore rejected the Police Commissioner’s assertion that he lacks knowledge of contemporary policing and denied that conflicts existed. “The COP is at his disingenuous best when he alleges that I have had conflicts with officers; the first time I heard that falsehood I requested that a poll be conducted to determine who the officers were with whom I had these conflicts,” Mentore said.

The SMD Head further dismissed the Police Commissioner’s claim that the unit was responsible for operational monitoring, saying that the SMD was not set up for that purpose. He said daily operational matters remain within the remit of the divisional commanders who as are being advised by their Divisional Management Information Units (DMIU).

Instead,  Mentore explained that the arrangement was that on the eight of every month leaders of the five strategic priority areas would send in their strategic performance reports so that these could be evaluated in terms of informing the meetings of the Performance Group on which area was doing well or which were facing implementation challenges. “Suffice it to say that those meetings have evolved into a one-man (sometimes two-man) show with no serious attempt to assess strategic plan implementation,” he said.

He said the GPF failed to produce its 2014 Annual Report because the administration failed to submit 69.69 percent of the reports that were required.

In addition to initial resistance to the now successful Cops and Faith Initiative, Mentore claimed that there has been resistance to the holding of a public stakeholder forum, a citizens’ perception survey and the establishment of realistic baselines to determine whether crime levels have really risen or dropped.

The SMD Head, regarded in some circles as an ally of then Home Affairs Minister, Clement Rohee, welcomed his recent response to the Police Commissioner’s positions on the SMD, saying that he (Rohee) “did a commendable job.”

 

  • Emile_Mervin

    Here’s the sad and unfortunate thing about this committee: although it was set up on recommendation from a British consultancy firm, it was nevertheless set up by the PPP regime, which had no genuine interest in combating crime. Crime was actually used by the PPP as a political tool to keep Indian supporters in fear of the PNC boogeyman!

    The regime also had criminal elements in it breaking laws left, right and center, so what would have been the purpose of having a crime plan for the streets and none for the government, which was criminally corrupt and the police knew it.

    Does Mr. Mentore not know the PPP regime facilitated drug smuggling? Does Mr. Mentore not know the PPP knew Roger Khan and his criminal and drug associates? Do I need to ask more questions to make the point that Mr. Mentore’s committee was a waste of time because the PPP was never serious about fighting crimes?

    I saw a published photo of Bharrat Jagdeo at a funeral for an Indian Guyanese robbery victim, and that is exactly the play book image the PPP wants to convey: Indians under attack and that the PPP cares, so re-elect the PPP to protect Indians. It is all politics, Mr. Mentore.

    • SYL

      Ok lets get the info. from the commish, and Emile you know more than I on this subject, so you’ll do the comparison , and I’ll be the referee, lol. Its all politics and jockeying for position .No one seems to be very interested in crime prevention, it more salute than shoot, meaning more talks than action, for the better of the citizens.With all the criminal activities and ingenuity of the criminals, did you hear of the criminals attempting to invade the privacy of any politician. I guess because they may be of same purpose. When there is more confusion in the country, the politicians get a better opportunity to do their corrupted activities under the guile of distraction. Lets get manufacturing plants in the country for auto makers, financial centers, clothing factories, and more outsourcing business activities, as just a few suggestions, keep in mind that the GT dollar is still low ,which gives a platform to investors, so part of the 40 % unemployment can be capped. The country with 700- 800 ,000 people still have crime that is a problem, then someone in a higher capacity is bull shitting people.

    • Col123

      EM: Not a 100% correct comment…The PPP used RK to eliminate the crime spree by the freedom fighters…Crime against the PPP supporters is inherent in Guyanese political history

      • Emile_Mervin

        1. The PPP used RK because it didn’t want to use Caricom or Commonwealth security assistance, lest those foreigners discover the PPP was part of the criminality.
        2. Crime against PPP supporters existed historically, but the PPP exploited it for political gain. It was Jagdeo who said in 2015 if Granger was elected that army members will go kicking down the doors of PPP supporters.

        • Col123

          EM: I have limited net access…suffice to say the phrase “kick down doors bandit ” was coined in the 70s.

          • Emile_Mervin

            Sorry about your limited ‘net access, but the issue for me is not about what happened in the 70s, but what Jagdeo failed to do during the crime sprees of the first decade this century. There were street criminals and government criminals. I am talking conspiring to and committing grand theft larcency and murders at the cabinet level of government. No one should defend criminality in or out of government.

  • Emile_Mervin

    You just want to defend the corrupt PPP, so you ignore the context of my blog. Regardless of what the motive was for the assortment of demented criminals during the Jagdeo era, he did not ask for foreign assistance because his government was criminally corrupt and he didn’t want foreign security personnel finding out this truth, so Roger Khan became the best recourse. That’s my point.