Government influenced change in acting Crime Chief

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 September 2017, 19:42 by Denis Chabrol

Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan on Thursday admitted that government intervened in deciding who should act as Head of the Guyana Police’s Force’s Criminal Investigations Department, but denied that the change in 24 hours had anything to do with alleged police collusion in the illegal landing of a Brazilian aircraft in North Rupununi.

“These are proposals made by senior leadership of the police force and we also- there is civilian oversight over the police force by the minister and I indicated that a certain set of things have to be done and there is the argument, yes, that he is qualified that he got an MBA and whatever else he got,” he said. “There is no posting of (Senior Superintendent Ravindradat) Budhram. All posting had to await, of course, my consideration, too, and what I regarded as an important meeting at the National Security Committee Tuesday morning at 7,” he said.

Ramjattan added that proposals made by acting Police Commissioner, David Ramnarine and government made certain collective decisions at the level of the National Security Committee. He said changes have in the past been made as a result of “certain ministerial inputs”.

Although government already saying that it is probing reports of alleged “collusion” with unnamed police in the landing of the Beechcraft Kingair plane, bearing registration markings PR-IMG, the Public Security Minister said that had nothing to do with government’s refusal to approve Budhram as acting Crime Chief while Senior Superintendent, Wendell Blanhum is on vacation leave until November. “The collusion in relation to aircraft and so on has nothing to do with Budhram,” he said.

Ramjattan justified the David Granger-led administration’s intervention, saying that Interior Divisional Commander Budhram was busy preparing documentation on the planned break up of Region 1 (Barima-Waini), Region 7 (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), Region 8 (Potaro-Siparuni) and Region Nine (Upper Takatu- Upper Essequibo) into three further divisions.

“Already he was recommended highly to be the Crime Chief, we want him to stay there to continue that process,” he said, adding that among the issues facing ‘F’ Division are the probe into the construction of an illegal airstrip on which landed a Brazilian-registered plane landed last month without permission, movement of Venezuelans into Guyana for medical treatment and the rehabilitation of police stations in that division. “Since he has started that under his stewardship, he should remain there,” he said.

For his part,  Acting Police Commissioner Ramnarine said “there was no intention to have Senior Superintendent Ravindradat Budhram permanently based at the Criminal Investigation Department on the fundamental basis that ‘F’ Division which he commands is increasingly becoming a geographical area of much interest, and in which he has developed comprehensive understanding of. The Criminal Investigation Department, Headquarters, Eve Leary is equally too important to be ‘left in the open’ without the requisite command leadership.”

The Public Security Minister said Budhram’s posting as acting Head of the Criminal Investigations Department was never granted.

He said Assistant Commissioner of Police, Paul Williams would be “better placed” as Crime Chief because he has a Law Degree.

Now that Williams is at Eve Leary; Head of the Presidential Guard, Assistant Police Commissioner Lyndon Alves has been posted to the Berbice Division.