Former President David Granger
Retired Commissioner of Police Seelall Persaud believes that the holding of a Commission of Inquiry which examined claims of an alleged plot to assassinate then-President, David Granger was a plot by the A Partnership for National Unity Government at a deeper plot.
It gave the impression that the (APNU) government did not want a democratic police force. “The government was well on the way of fashioning the machinery (Guyana Police Force) it was going to use in the elections” Seelall Persaud in his recently published book ‘Stepping out of the Herd’ noted.
Persaud said he came to that conclusion after observing several maneuvers which were taken in the force while he began taking his numerous accumulated leave as his retirement time was counting down.
“Crime Chief Blanhum and the head of the Major Investigation Unit, Superintendent Caesar, were transferred out of the CID to desk jobs. Later, the few GPF commanders of East Indian descent, such as Senior Superintendent Budram, who was commander of F Division, Superintendent Karimbaksh who was commander ‘D’ Division, and Superintendent Ashram, the traffic chief, were all transferred from command positions and replaced” Persaud’s book noted.
Those movements were done while Persaud was on leave and according to his book, when he resumed duties on January 22, 2018, then Public Security Minister Ramjattan directed him not to interfere with the transfers that were made.
During the elections period of 2020, the police were accused of allowing protests to get out of hand in Region 5 under the previous police administration. The police were also used to remove a number of local and regional election observers from the Ashmains Building in Georgetown which was being used as the Region 4 Elections Command and Media Centre. The media was eventually barred from accessing the facility in which a media center was set up and designated for regular updates.
Seelall Persaud in speaking to the issue of the Commission of Inquiry and its chairman retired Assistant Commissioner Paul Slowe suggested that basic fundamentals of natural justice were either ignored or overlooked.
“None of the persons who were called to give evidence were served with witness statements which might implicate or tend to implicate them, and therefore they could not have properly instruct legal counsel. In fact, Mr. Slowe, in the conduct of the inquiry, seemed to have if any, only a superficial understanding of the six Cardinal Principles to achieving fairness of inquiry proceedings” the book ‘Stepping out of the Herd’ noted.
The Commission of Inquiry into the assassination plot against David Granger was launched after a man, Andrif Gillard who made the accusation against one of Seelall Persaud’s friends, claimed that the police did not act on his report and that the matter was not handled properly. Seelall Persaud was the substantive Commissioner of Police at the time and was on annualized vacation leave when the report was made.
“The conduct of the Inquiry highlighted the incompetence of Mr. Slowe. Apart from the legal breach of appointing the secretary, section 13 of the commission of Inquiries Act provides for a person whose conduct is subject of Inquiry under this Act or who is in any way implicated or concerned in the matter under inquiry and any other person who may consider it desirable that he should be re[presented legally may by leave of the commission, be represented in the matter aforesaid” the retired Commissioner of Police stated in his book.