Last Updated on Monday, 5 July 2021, 15:21 by Denis Chabrol
The Police Service Commission, which government maintains has been suspended, has given the Police Commissioner Nigel Hoppie until midday Tuesday to prepare and publish a Special Promotion Order for the more than 130 officers for whom promotions have been made or face legal action.
“Should you further delay to give effect to the promotions the Police Service Commission will be forced to take legal steps to command you to carry out your duties in relation to the promotions,” PSC Chairman Retired Assistant Commissioner Paul Slowe told Mr. Hoppie in a letter dated July 5, 2021.
Mr. Slowe also said that the Commission regards his failure to issue the Order one week after the officers were promoted as a mark of defiance.
“Your action in not ensuring that the Special Promotion Order is prepared and published one week after receiving the promotion list from the Police Service Commission is interpreted by the Police Commission as you defying the legitimate action of the Police Service Commission in promoting ranks of the Guyana Police Force,” the PSC Chairman said.
Attorney General Anil Nandlall continues to insist that the President correctly exercised his constitutional power to suspend the Commission pending the setting up of a Tribunal to investigate complaints. Mr. Nandlall has rejected the position by the PSC’s external lawyer, Selwyn Pieters that the Tribunal first has to be in place before the Commission could be suspended. “I do not share that view. Once the decision has been made by the President that the matter is to be referred to a tribunal, a determination has been made already that the matter will be investigated by a tribunal and once that determination has been made, whether or not the tribunal has been established is ancillary,” M. Nandlall said.
Mr. Nandlall has acknowledged that the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) needs to be established before the Tribunal could be appointed, but he would only say “shortly” when asked when the JSC would be appointed. He also ruled out those PSC-announced promotions being published in the Official Gazette. “The government has already issued a statement and outlined the reasons why those promotions will not be recognised and certainly they ought not to be gazetted,” Mr. Nandlall told Demerara Waves Online News/ News-Talk Radio Guyana 103.1 FM
The PSC Chairman reminded the Police Commissioner that he had acknowledged receiving the promotion list on June 30, 2021 that had been sent on June 28.
Mr. Slowe noted , in his letter to Mr. Hoppie, that the Quartermaster also “uses the Special Promotion Order to issue badges of rank to the newly promoted ranks.” The PSC Chairman virtually instructed the Police Commissioner to take steps to ensure that the officers are issued with their paraphernalia. “This letter is to inform you that the Police Service Commission expects you to cause the Special Promotions Order to be published forthwith, and that you give instructions to the Quartermaster to issue the newly promoted ranks with their badges of rank,” Mr. Slowe said.
The Police Commissioner was also reminded by Mr. Slowe that the PSC’s lawyer Mr. Selwyn Pieters copied him on letter, which was sent to President Mohamed Irfaan Ali informing him that his purported suspension of the Police Service Commission was unconstitutional and of no legal effect. He also informed the President that the Police Service Commission will continue to do its work until the end of its term in August, 2021.
Last month, the High Court ruled that several Police Officers had no legal right to challenge the PSC’s decision not to promote them and neither were they entitled to a hearing.
Acting Deputy Police Commissioner Calvin Brutus, Deputy Superintendent Ravindra Stanley, Superintendent Shivpersaud Bacchus, Inspector Prem Narine, Assistant Superintendent Shevon Jupiter had been recommended by the Police Commissioner for promotion in November 2020 but the PSC refused to do so. Those officers had also challenged in the High Court the PSC’s decision to promote Senior Superintendent Edmond Cooper, Senior Superintendent Phillip Azore, Senior Superintendent Kurleigh Simon, Senior Superintendent Marcia Washington, Superintendent Carol Harding, Superintendent Dennis Stephens, Superintendent Walter Stanton, Superintendent Crystal Robinson, Superintendent Hugh Winter, Inspector Marlon Kellman and Inspector Collette Evans.
The latter group officers was among those named in the promotions.