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PNCR to go to court over Hicken’s appointment as Police Commissioner; bypassing of Paul Williams

Last Updated on Monday, 28 March 2022, 17:13 by Denis Chabrol

Substantive Assistant Police Commissioner Clifton Hicken

The People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) on Monday said it would be challenging the constitutionality of the appointment of Assistant Police Commissioner as acting Police Commissioner because Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Williams has been bypassed.

Prior to his appointment as Acting Police Commissioner, he had been styled Acting Deputy Police Commissioner.  “To promote Mr. Hicken to the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police or to have him act in the office is a blatant violation of the Constitution, and will be challenged in a court of law,” the PNCR said.
Mr. Hicken on Monday confirmed to Demerara Waves Online News/ News-Talk Radio Guyana 103.1 FM that he has taken over from  Mr. Nigel Hoppie as Acting Police Commissioner who had proceeded on pre-retirement leave.
Acknowledging that there is no Opposition Leader or Police Service Commission at the moment, the PNCR said the appointment of a Police Commissioner or Deputy Police Commissioner is “plainly unconstitutional.”  The People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), the major party in the opposition coalition, has taken steps for its leader, Aubrey Norton to become a parliamentarian after March 31, 2022 and eventually be voted in by the opposition parliamentarians as Opposition Leader.  A number of Service Commissions, Police Commissioner, Chancellor and the Chief Justice could be appointed only after consultation between the President and the Opposition Leader.
That party made it clear that Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Williams, as “the most senior officer”, should have been appointed to act as Police Commissioner based on Public Service rules.  “Based on the current structure and line of statutory succession, Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Williams remains the next in line. Mr Clifton Hicken is an Assistant Commissioner and therefore, is junior in rank to Mr Williams.

Mr. Williams had been among four Deputy Police Commissioners who had been appointed in 2018. They are Ms. Maxine Graham, Mr. Hoppie and Mr. Lyndon Alves.

Article 211 (1) of the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana which states that ‘‘the Commissioner of Police and every Deputy Commissioner of Police shall be appointed by the President acting after meaningful consultation with the Leader of the Opposition and the Chairperson of the Police Service Commission, after the Chairperson has consulted with the other member of the Commission’’
The PNCR suggested that that the appointment of Mr. Hicken to act as Police Commissioner amounted to the “wanton politicization” of the police force.”
That party demanded that the government rescinds Hicken’s appointment and allow for a process of full transparency, legality, and meritocracy within the Guyana Police Force.