Last Updated on Monday, 6 November 2017, 16:39 by Denis Chabrol
Minister of State, Joseph Harmon on Monday said he has been in discussions with substantive Police Commissioner, Seelall Persaud about his “welfare” but he declined to say whether the top cop would be removed in keeping with recommendations by a Commission of Inquiry.
“I, personally, have met with Mr Seelall Persaud recently- a few weeks ago- in relation to what he considers to be important matters in relation to his own welfare,” he said when asked by Demerara Waves Online News.
Harmon did not say whether those discussions with Persaud, currently in the last few weeks of his annualized vacation leave, centered on his dismissal or removal from office. A Commission of Inquiry into an alleged plot to assassinate President David Granger has recommended that Persaud be dismissed or removed in accordance with Guyana’s constitution.
“I wouldn’t comment on this dismissal… that’s an option but I am not going to comment on that. You heard Minister (of Public Security) Ramjattan give his views publicly on the matter. As I said, it’s going to be considered by the President and the Cabinet,” said Harmon who is acting Minister of Public Security.
The Commission of Inquiry recommends that Persaud be made to resign his position as Police Commissioner under such terms and conditions as the President considers appropriate or he should be removed in accordance with the constitution for misbehaviour.
When contacted, Persaud confirmed that he has been in discussion with the State Minister but he declined to divulge details.
Both President David Granger and Minister of State, Joseph Harmon on Monday repeatedly omitted “acting” when referring to David Ramnarine as Police Commissioner at China’s handing over of US$2.6 million worth of vehicles, protective gear and other items to the police force. The Commission of Inquiry recommended thrice that he be “sanctioned” for failure to do a number of things in connection with the probe into the alleged assassination plot.
With Ramnarine expected to be overseas very shortly, Minister Harmon avoided saying specifically whether Assistant Commissioner of Police (Operations) – the most senior of the Assistant Commissioners- would act as the country’s top cop. “In the first set of structure that would allow for the next senior rank to act up in the capacity of the Commissioner of Police and in the case of the Criminal Investigations Department there is an officer in there who would be identified to do that,” he said.
Asked if Hicken would be the senior officer who would be acting, he said “the senior who will be there if in fact that is the senior officer; we are not in the habit of jumping people.” The Commission of Inquiry recommends that disciplinary action be taken against Hicken neglect and failure to report in several instances in relation to the probe into the alleged assassination plot.
On whether Head of the Criminal Investigations Department, Assistant Police Commissioner, Paul Williams is being positioned to eventually take over as Police Commissioner, Harmon remarked that “I can’t say that” but every senior officer at the required age-range can expect to become the Police Commissioner.
The Minister of State also left the door open for a female to be appointed Police Commissioner;.