President Granger instructs Police Service Commission to halt promotions; Opposition Leader says order “unconstitutional”

Last Updated on Tuesday, 8 August 2017, 19:02 by Denis Chabrol

FLASH BACK: President David Granger escorts Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo to the Conference room for their meeting Wednesday evening

President David Granger  has instructed the Police Service Commission (PSC) not to go ahead with promoting officers of the Guyana Police Force, a move that has raised concerns by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon confirmed Tuesday that the President last week advised the Commission not to proceed further appointments. “That’s the President’s decision. He doesn’t want them to proceed with any further promotion until further notice,” Harmon told Demerara Waves Online News.

The three-year life span of the current PSC expires on September 4, 2017 and the offices of Chairman and commissioners become vacant automatically.

The President’s instruction comes at a time when there is a Commission of Inquiry into the effectiveness of the Guyana Police Force in investigating a June 2015 alleged assassination plot against him that was reported in March, 2017.

The State Minister said it was the President’s decision and he would not comment on what influenced the decision or comment on concerns about its constitutionality.

The President, after meaningful consultation with the Opposition Leader and the Chairman of the Police Service Commission, is responsible for the appointment of the Police Commissioner and the Deputy Police Commissioner. The PSC is responsible for appointments from Inspector to Assistant Commissioner. All lower promotions are done by the Police Commissioner.

Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo on Tuesday urged the PSC “not to succumb to these unconstitutional and unlawful directives but to continue to discharge its mandate in the manner provided for by the Constitution.”

Jagdeo charged that Granger demonstrates absolute disrespect and disregard for the letter and spirit of the Constitution and therefore, continues to contravene its provisions with impunity. In this case, the Opposition Leader cited Article 226(1) of the Constitution which states “In the exercise of its functions under the Constitution a Commission shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority”.

“This is yet another vulgar and authoritarian attempt by the President to trample upon the independence and functional autonomy of a Constitutional Agency. The President and his Government continue, on a daily basis, to violate the rule of law, assault important democratic institutions and breach, in the most egregious fashion, the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana,” Jagdeo said.

The Commission of Inquiry has so far heard testimony that have implicated Police Commissioner, Seelall Persaud and Acting Police Commissioner, David Ramnarine in alleged procedural wrongdoings connected and unconnected to the assassination plot.