Jagdeo says he was not granted enough time to consult on COP selection

first_img– Says President had “specific reasons” for not choosing RamnarineNow that a substantive Commissioner of Police (COP) has been appointed in the person of Leslie James, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has said he has neither an adverse nor positive opinion of the selection, since he was not granted enough time by the President to consult.“This impeded on my constitutional authority,” he said, noting that he brought that to the President’s attention on Thursday when he met with him at State House.According to Jagdeo, he was assured that measures would be put in place to safeguard against a recurrence of correspondences being delayed.Jagdeo recalled receiving a call from the President inviting him to a meeting, which he agreed to attend. On Tuesday, he received a correspondence from the President, in which Article 2:111 of the Constitution of Guyana was cited.“Having received the correspondence on Tuesday, looking at it, I realised thatPresident David Granger, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, and Attorney General Basil Williams met on Thursday at State Housepursuant to the Constitution and the constitutional definition of meaningful consultation, the President had not met that definition; and I caused a letter to be sent to his office, pointing this out to him — that he needed to indicate who is going to fill what posts is required by the constitution,” Jagdeo recounted.Further, the Opposition Leader said, on Thursday morning he received a letter from the President, in which he indicated that James would be the new Commissioner of Police.“He wanted him to be the Commissioner of Police, since, having received that — although I was hoping to get it in advance, so I could have solicited a more informed view about the candidate, or his nominee — nevertheless, I attended the meeting, because I wanted to ensure I fulfilled my constitutional role, and this matter had been pending for a very long time, and I think it’s important that we get people to full substantive posts,” Jagdeo explained.During the meeting, the President indicated his preference, according to Jagdeo. At that time, the Opposition Leader said, he used the opportunity to ask several questions, and raise concerns about the lateness of the correspondence and how it impeded his ability to have some form of consultation with others about the potential of the nominees.He said, “The President undertook that in future there would be a long enough lead time to avoid the occurrence or the recurrence of such a situation, because I said it does impede or this — impeded on my constitutional authority to considerPresident David Granger and Attorney General Basil Williams during the consultation with Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo and Member of Parliaments, Irfaan Ali and Gail Teixeira on Thursdaythe matter carefully and talk to others.”Jagdeo told media operatives that he has heard from various people at various points in time about the individuals (nominees). “And I do know many of them, because they have been in the Force for quite a long time, and I did not intend to raise rumours or conversations that people shared with me that can’t be substantiated by evidence at consultation, because I would do injustice to the individuals concerned,” he added.Selection processThe Opposition Leader further argued that the President did not have an adverse position to any of the nominees, because he did not have a chance to go through the process; so he went a bit further to find out from him the process that led to his decision.“So he said to me that the test was a basic test, that it was designed for Grade 6. He asked the Ministry of Education to design a test for Grade 6, and that he will share with me some of the basic things, that it was more just of an assessment of general knowledge,” Jagdeo explained.The process was conducted by the President, Attorney General Basil Williams, and Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan.Jagdeo further noted that Granger explained that the assessment was not “pitched at a level to disqualify” nominees, but to gather information on their “general knowledge.”Meanwhile, President David Granger has said he has “specific reasons” for not choosing former Acting Police Commissioner David Ramnarine for the Top Cop position.He nevertheless assured Jagdeo that the findings of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into his (President’s) alleged assassination plot last year had not tainted the nominees.Jagdeo said he questioned the Head of State as to what role the former Assistant Commissioner of Police, and recently appointed Head of the Police Service Commission, Paul Slowe, played in the selection process.Slowe had been the Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry into the alleged plot to assassination the President last year.“I asked about the role of Paul Slowe, and whether the COI would have tainted some of the nominees…He assured me that Paul Slowe recused himself at the Police Service Commission when some of the nominees were discussed,” Jagdeo told media operatives.The CoI report completed by Slowe had, among other things, recommended that then substantive Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud be forced to resign, or be removed if he refused.Ramnarine was acting as Police Commissioner when the allegation was levelled, and he told the CoI he felt a proper investigation was not conducted.As such, the report also recommended that sanctions be imposed against him for his failure to ensure that a proper investigation was conducted.Jagdeo, at that time, had indicated his belief that Slowe had “had an axe to grind,” and was acting on the basis of vendetta.He also drew attention to the fact that the now PSC Head had in fact served on the Coalition’s campaign team in the last General Elections held in May 2015.“He was put there to do a hatchet job on the leadership of the Police Force, destroying professionalism,” Jagdeo had said.last_img read more