Commissioner of Police Leslie James has been asked to hand over the operations of the Guyana Police and head home on his pre-retirement leave and ultimate retirement. This was confirmed by multiple sources within the Guyana Police Force who related that James was given his letter with the instructions on Thursday.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Nigel Hoppie will be taking over the force as the Commissioner of Police acting. Up to late Thursday, Deputy Commissioner of Police Maxine Graham whose time in the force has also expired was not yet in possession of any letter directing her to pack her traps and go home as well. In June, Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan said he was not sure why James and Graham were still on the job.
Both James and Graham were slated to leave the Guyana Police Force since June but have remained on the job in what the president termed their need to supervise a ‘special operation’. He was at the time speaking to the current political atmosphere. However, James being served his letter to march home comes even as the country is still in the political season and the president did indicate a few weeks ago that when the period is over, both James and Graham would be asked to go home.
Leslie James was appointed Commissioner of Police on August 31, 2018, while Maxine Graham, Nigel Hoppie, Paul Williams, and Lyndon Alves were all appointed Deputy Commissioners of Police on the same day.
The group of five rolled into their new appointments with lots of optimism from members of the public and even senior and junior officers who felt that they represented a core management team that would turn the force around but it soon proved that their management styles resembled a different side of the same coin.
Early into their administration of the force, there was infighting which resulted in their seeming cohesiveness inclusionary management of the force crumbling as scandals rose. members of the ‘Big Five’ began being accused of inappropriate relationships with female ranks, involvement with criminal elements, faking of official state documents, mass firearm license sale, irresponsible statements, empty promises, and the wanton transferring of officers and ranks.
With the exception of the alleged involvement of one Deputy Commissioner with criminal elements which was only addressed by the force administration after media pressure, all the other issues stated earlier were handled poorly and continue to haunt the force administration which tells the tale that the force over the last three years experienced its weakest leadership team with indecisive decision making.
There is also the general view within the Guyana Police Force that at least two Deputy Commissioners of Police were calling the shots in the organization and going above the head of the Commissioner of Police himself because of the affiliation those two Deputy Commissioners of Police have with senior functionary in government.
As Nigel Hoppie takes over the force as the Commissioner of Police acting, Deputy Commissioner of Police Paul Williams will be serving as the number two man in the organization. The appointment of a substantive Commissioner of Police will come after consultations with the President and Opposition Leader.
With the way things are going politically, it is unlikely that Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo will even consider meeting with President Granger to have any discussions on the subject on the confirmation of a Police Commissioner.