Last Updated on Monday, 31 May 2021, 14:58 by Denis Chabrol
President Irfaan Ali Monday denied claims by the Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), Retired Assistant Police Commissioner Paul Slowe that he sought to influence who should be promoted.
“It is therefore not only opportunistic but a total lie that my meeting with Mr Slowe was to exercise any influence. This level of distortion and public mischief by the Chairman of this Commission exposes his leadership and alignment,” the President said aid less than three hours after Slowe’s virtual news conference.
Dr. Ali said Mr. Slowe was “convenient and opportunistic” in accusing him of trying to influence him and the work of the Police Service Commission. “This is not only far from the truth, but it is a malicious attempt to change the narrative,” the President added.
While the PSC Chairman listed the dates of the several purported communication with the President, he broadly debunked all of Mr. Slowe’s claims.
The Guyanese leader referred to an interaction with the PSC Chairman, dating back to eight months ago similar to discussions that had been held with independent commissioners and the judiciary.
Mr. Slowe earlier Monday claimed that the President had expressed concern about the omission of Senior Superintendents Calvin Brutus and Karim Baksh from the PSC’s shortlist of officers who had been considered for promotion.
But Dr. Ali queried that “if Mr. Slowe is saying I tried to influence him, where are the results of that influence? Mr. Slowe recalled telling the President about the procedures laid out for promotions and so persons against whom disciplinary action is pending are not eligible.
The President accused Mr. Slowe of exposing his political alignment by using the services of a number of opposition-aligned lawyers Roysdale Forde, Khemraj Ramjattan, Raphael Trotman, Geeta Chandan-Edmond, Amanda Walton Desir, all of whom are opposition parliamentarians, “to institute proceedings against the Government of Guyana.” The President countered that instead Mr Slowe was the one who was “bringing the independence and professionalism of the PSC into question” when he aligns the PSC with those persons.
Dr. Ali recalled raising “various concerns with him that were brought to my attention without prejudice.” As President, my desire is to see these Commissions function professionally and independently.” He gave no details of those concerns. The President challenged Mr. Slowe to explain his action of aligning himself with a political party and a political party’s member’s action against the government.
The President said the PSC Chairman appeared desperate.
Following Mr. Slowe, fellow PSC Commissioner Clifton Conway and several other serving and former police officers having been charged with conspiracy to defraud, the Prime Minister Mark Phillips has asked the two PSC Commissioners to show cause why they should not be removed from that body that is responsible for disciplinary action and promotion of persons ranging from Inspector to Assistant Commissioner.
A more than 500-page response has been dispatched to the Prime Minister.
Mr. Slowe said the criminal charges and the election of a new executive of the Police Association are all plans to collapse the existing PSC before its three-year term automatically ends in August.