Georgetown, Guyana – (September 8, 2017) President David Granger, today, said that the Commission of Inquiry (COI) into the alleged assassination plot against him has exposed serious deficiencies and weaknesses in the Guyana Police Force (GPF), which will have to be corrected. While making it clear that the COI is not meant to be a witch-hunt, the Head of State said that work has to be done to ensure that the law enforcement agency is more professional and efficient in the execution of its duties and responsibilities.
Speaking to media operatives on the sidelines of the Launch of the Demerara-Mahaica (Region Four) Regional Agricultural and Commercial Exhibition (RACE) at the Ramada Princess Hotel, the President said that while Cabinet has not deliberated on the contents of the report as yet, its findings point to some critical areas, which will need to be addressed as part of security sector reform.
“[The Commission] made some very strong recommendations. Even persons who have been following the day-to-day reports would have realised that there has been a significant lapse in professionalism at the high levels of the Guyana Police Force, so these are matters of concern. It has brought to light some serious deficiencies and I am very confident that the work that Mr. Russell Combe is doing will point to ways in which we can correct the deficiencies. The important thing is to ensure that we get information so that we can correct fault. It is not a witch-hunt. We are trying to make the law enforcement agencies more efficient,” he said.
Mr. Combe is a British security expert, who is an Advisor to President Granger as part of the United Kingdom’s US$4.7B Security Sector Reform (SSR) Programme, which had been scrapped by the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) Administration in 2009. He is expected to produce an initial interim report shortly.
President Granger, in November 2016 on the Ministry of the Presidency’s television programme, “The Public Interest”, said that while the GPF 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. “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.
In April this year, an allegation was made that there was a plot to assassinate His Excellency, President David Granger. Questions were later raised about the investigative approach employed by the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and on June 30, 2017, Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon announced that in keeping with Section Two of the Commission of Inquiry Act, the President had ordered an Inquiry into the allegation, to be headed by retired Assistant Police Commissioner, Mr. Paul Slowe.
Section Two of the Act states: “The President may issue a Commission appointing one or more commissioners and authorising such commissioner or commissioners to inquire into any matter in which an inquiry would, in the opinion of the President, be in the public welfare.”