Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 May 2021, 21:23 by Denis Chabrol
As the Guyana High Court prepares to next Monday rule on whether the Police Service Commission (PSC) had unfairly bypassed a number of officers for promotion, two PSC Commissioners and several retired police officers are being investigated for several alleged offences.
The Guyana Police Force confirmed that a number of ex police officers have been charged, released on bail and are due to appear in court on Tuesday.
Sources said investigators plan to arrest PSC Chairman Retired Assistant Commissioner Paul Slowe on his return to Guyana as he is wanted for questioning by the Special Organised Crime Unit and the Gender Based Unit of the Police Force.. Those arrested and released from custody are PSC Commissioner Retired Assistant Commissioner Clifton Conway as well as Retired Assistant Commissioner Ivelaw Whittaker and retired senior officer George Fraser.
Well-placed sources said the charges are conspiracy to commit fraud during March to April, 2019, sexual assault and misconduct in public office.
The sources said the investigation centered around the incomplete review of the Standing Orders of the Guyana Police Force in keeping with a recommendation by British Security Consultant Mr. Russel Combs.
According to the sources, then Police Commissioner Leslie James had asked those PSC members and other officers to review the Standing Orders and recommend changes. They were offered and received payments, but the review process reportedly remained incomplete due to COVID-19 and the general election process dating back to the no-confidence motion.
Records show that the review team also received meals during the time of their work.
But the Guyana Police Force, in a statement issued late Wednesday night, said the review team had been paid more than GYD$10 million for work that had been already done by the British consultant. Further the Police Force said that the amount of money exceeded the amount for services that ought to have been awarded by public tender. Further, investigators said that as PSC Commissioners Mr. Slowe and Mr. Conway were prohibited from receiving such payments. “Mr. Slowe and Retired Assistant Commissioner Clinton Conway– being members of the Police Service Commission, which overlooks the Police Force as the disciplinary body – cannot take contracts and enter into agreements that they are getting substantial monetary rewards for,” the Force said.
One of the female officers, who had been working along with the review team, has alleged that an officer had rubbed her legs under a table between late March and early April, 2019.
Investigators are also making efforts to contact a now retired senior officer who had been responsible for the finance department at that time.
The Guyana Police Force Communications Unit has refused to respond to requests for information about the investigation and offences.
Indications are that steps are being taken to dismantle the PSC or make it dysfunctional before its term expires in August, 2021. The current PSC had been appointed by the then David Granger-led administration.
According to security sector experts, every effort is being made to ensure that the PSC is stacked with pro-government operatives who would not oppose the promotion of certain officers on the grounds of ineligibility.
Mr. Calvin Brutus’ case challenging his bypass is expected to be decided on by the Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire.
Since the change of government in August 2020, Mr. Brutus and Mr. Clifton Hicken have been appointed to act as Deputy Police Commissioners.
Among the first tasks of the controversially elected Police Service Association is to name nominees to sit on the PSC. The Caribbean Federation of Police Welfare Associations has rejected the electoral process and has refused to recognise the Police Association.