Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud will remain head of the police force as newly appointed President David Granger says he is ready to work with the police head.
Leading a security force that has been accused of corruption and the violation of the rights of Guyanese, the retention of the police head might come as a surprise to some.
Granger noted however that he supported the appointment of Persaud to act in that capacity, but the issue of torture which involved some members of the force, hindered his confirmation to the post, when those officers were promoted.
“I have no concern in asking Mr. Persuad to demit office… what I am concerned about is the status of two persons against whom serious allegations were made in the Force. I have no problem with Mr. Persaud,” said Granger.
Then Sergeant Narine Lall and Constable Mohanram Dulai were not found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm because their accuser, then teenager Twyon Thomas, had not attended court to lead evidence against them. Thomas had alleged that the policemen had wet his genitals with mentholated spirits and set them ablaze in November 2008 during a probe into the murder of former Region Three Chairman, Ramenaught Bisram. Earlier this year, Lall was promoted to the rank of Inspector by the Police Service Commission, while it was Persaud who promoted Dolai to the rank of Corporal.Thomas later won a civil lawsuit against the State and was awarded millions of dollars in damages for torture by the policemen.
Persaud is on record as saying that the policemen had not been given the right to be heard during the High Court case and prior to that they had not been convicted in the lower court and so were reinstated in keeping with the policy of the Guyana Police Force.
The President said that, “torture is a serious crime, a crime of international jurisdiction.” He explained that should a person be involved in torture crimes, they can be arrested in any part of the world. He said it is a universal crime, but “people don’t seem to understand what torture is.”
Granger said he was against the appointment of Seelall given the issue of torture which involved the promotion of two members of the force. He noted however, that, “I must be satisfied that this matter does not become major stumbling block with the Commissioner of Police.”
In this regard, the President said he will be meeting with the Commissioner to discuss the issue.
Granger reiterated that, “I would like to work with him (Persuad), but I would like to remove any obstacle to our relationship. He said he will engage Persuad about the issue about the promotion of those officers who were engaged in torture.
When asked, Granger said, “I do not believe persons who are involved in the crime of torture should be retained or promoted in the police force.”