President says appointment of Acting Top Cop “doctrine of necessity”

President Dr. Irfaan Ali on Monday evening defended his appointment of Deputy Commissioner in charge of operations, Clifton Hicken to act in the capacity of Police Commissioner as “a doctrine of necessity.”

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the launch of the master’s degree programme in strategic development studies, at the University of Guyana, Turkeyen Campus, Georgetown, he expressed his belief that it is impossible for the nation to remain without a Police Commissioner.

“There is something called the doctrine of necessity, should I allow the country to function without an acting commissioner? There is a doctrine of necessity and in the doctrine of necessity, I appointed an acting commissioner,” the Commander of the armed forces said.

The term Doctrine of Necessity is used to describe the basis on which administrative actions by authority, which are designed to restore order, are found to be constitutional.

The President appointed Mr. Hicken after Former Commissioner of Police (ag) Nigel Hoppie proceeded on pre-retirement leave on Sunday, March 27, 2022.

“There are a number of deputies. Hicken was deputy operation, you have deputy admin, you have the crime chief and then you have (Senior Superintendent Ravindradat) Budhram,” the President pointed out noting that there are several officers who will function as deputies.

The Guyana Constitution notes that the Commissioner of Police and every Deputy Commissioner of Police shall be appointed by the President acting after meaningful consultation with the Leader of the Opposition and the Chairperson of the Police Service Commission. However, a new Leader of the Opposition is yet to be appointed in the National Assembly following the resignation of former Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon. There is also no PSC in place.

Hicken’s appointment takes effect on March 30, 2022.