President David Granger on Thursday met with Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo to discuss the appointment of the Public Service Commission and the Police Service Commission, but Jagdeo said he registered his objection to the appointment of former Assistant Police Commissioner, Paul Slowe.
“I expressed my concerns over a particular nominee, Mr. Paul Slowe, about how partisan he has been and from my understanding that he has substantial baggage with the rest of the police force, the leadership of the police force; that is bad interpersonal issues and that I expressed the hope that these will not cloud his judgement in that critical position. The President assured me that he will speak with him about that,” Jagdeo told reporters.
Slowe, who recently conducted a Commission of Inquiry into an assassination plot against the President, is tipped to be the Chairman of the Police Service Commission. As the Inquiry Commissioner, he had recommended sanctions against then Police Commissioner, Seelall Persaud; then Crime Chief Senior Superintendent, Wendell Blanhum and Assistant Commissioner of Police David Ramnarine, among others. As Assistant Commissioner of Police and then Commander of the Berbice Division, Slowe had refused instructions by then Home Affairs Minister Ronald Gajraj to return a licensed firearm to a businessman who had been the subject of a probe.
The Leader of the Opposition was accompanied by former Attorney General, Mr. Anil Nandlall and Opposition Chief Whip, Ms. Gail Teixeira while Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon and Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mr. Basil Williams accompanied the President.
State Minister Harmon remarked to the media that “it is clear that the constitution does not require agreement but meaningful consultations so those consultations were done and the persons that were recommended by His Excellency were actually approved at the meeting.”
The President and the Opposition Leader are expected to hold consultations on the appointment of a Police Commissioner.
In an invited comment after the meeting, Minister Harmon said that the President as required by the Constitution, has consulted with Mr. Jagdeo and he expects that the Commissions will soon be sworn in.
“As you are aware, these two Commissions, the life had come to an end many months ago but the process had required the National assembly to nominate some of these persons for both Commissions and once those were done; the President would consult with the Leader of the Opposition. So this is what took place this morning. The requirement was for meaningful consultation and not necessarily agreement and so that consultation took place and now I believe we can proceed with having the two Commissions established and the President at a short time from now will have those two Commissions sworn in so that their work can continue,” he was quoted by government’s Department of Public Information.
Article 210 (1) of the Constitution states, “The Police Service Commission shall consist of (a) a Chairman appointed by the President acting after consultation with the Minority Leader…” and (d) “not more than three members exclusive of the Chairman of the Public Service Commission (in this article referred to as ‘appointed members’” who shall be appointed by the President acting after consultation with the Minority Leader.”