Georgetown, Guyana – (August 31, 2017) President David Granger, today, said that it is in the national interest that the Office of the Presidency be protected regardless of who is in power adding that the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the alleged assassination plot of the Head of State is aimed at identifying the weaknesses and deficiencies, which may exist that can compromise the safety of the sitting President and his family.
President Granger made these remarks after receiving the Report of the COI from Head of the Commission, Mr. Paul Slowe at State House and noted that these Commissions of Inquiry are important since they help to uncover the truth and to correct malpractice and abuses in the system. “I think the Office of the President is one that should enjoy the protection of the security services and any reports of threats or any risks to the President’s life or immediate relatives of the President, such as the First Lady or the President’s children deserve to be properly and thoroughly investigated. It is about ensuring that the President is safe and if there are any threats to that safety then it should be investigated,” he said.
The President’s sentiments were shared by Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon, who said that it is a matter of public interest and it is the prerogative of the President to establish a Commission of Inquiry where he sees it fit, to protect the people of Guyana.
“It’s an investigation into an alleged attempt to assassinate the sitting President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and, therefore, it is not a laughing matter. This is a very serious matter and it is taken very seriously by this Administration. The Inquiry is provided for under Section II of the Commission of Inquiry Act, whereby the President may issue a commission appointing Commissioners to inquire into any matter, which in the opinion of the President may be in the public’s interest,” he said.
Mr. Paul Slowe, while not venturing into any details of the recommendations or findings of the report, said that “it was a very involved and lengthy process, which enabled the Commission to gather enough evidence so that the Terms of Reference could have been fully answered.”
The Commission’s Terms of Reference had included investigating and reviewing the full range of the actions and responses of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) to the reports and the extent to which such actions were conducted or executed with due diligence. Itwas also asked to determine whether any person, and, in particular, officers of the GPF, had information before and after the reports were made of the alleged assassination plot and whether that information was communicated to any superior authority; and report on what official action was taken on information received and if there was due diligence by GPF officers in the investigation.
Additionally, it was tasked with reviewing all actions taken by the GPF and examining whether there was “failure, neglect or omission to thoroughly and properly investigate” and to determine whether this was intentional. It is to also determine the “blameworthiness for failure or neglect of officers or persons involved in the investigation” and to recommend action to be taken against anyone found culpable, as well as to recommend steps that can be taken to prevent a recurrence.
President Granger, in November 2016 on the Ministry of the Presidency’s television programme, The Public Interest, said that while the Guyana Police Force had not received the attention it deserved in the past, his administration will work to make it a sound, professional organisation. He had noted that the Government will act as is deemed necessary, and this will entail some changes in the current administration of the GPF, in addition to several other measures.
“We reckon that the decision that we took to bring the British Security Sector Reform Programme here is the right one because we cannot proceed in this country with an unreformed Guyana Police Force and some of the actions, which are taking place convince me that reform has to take place and we are going to do that,” he said.