COMMISSIONER REMAINS CURIOUS CHOICE

Commissioner Seelall with Former President Jagdeo and Minister of Home Affairs Rohee

smallvBecause we can’t really plot this curiously meandering line of ascendancy to the Presidency, let’s just say Cheddi begat Sam who begat Janet who begat Bharrat ( in even trickier moves) who begat Donald who begat prorogation which begat the historic Coalition government.

Pause.

During all this but immediately before the PPP was ejected by the Coalition government Guyana was degenerating into a social cesspool and one of its chief draughtsmen was our police force which was expected to protect and serve.

The Guyana Human Rights report of 2013 cites: The most serious human rights abuses involved suspects’ and detainees’ complaints of mistreatment by security forces, unlawful killings by police, and poor prison and jail conditions.
The US dept of State cites :http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/2014/vol1/222899.htm
The influence of narcotics trafficking is evident in the country’s political and criminal justice systems. Traffickers are attracted by the country’s poorly monitored ports, remote airstrips, intricate river networks, porous land borders, and weak security sector capacity.

Stop.

There are a couple of points that are more than just tangential to the discourse we need to be having on the policing in our country which remains, pretty much, where it was found when the Coalition ejected the PPP after decades of governmental atrocities.

Our police force is famously incompetent because it has been infamously compromised by politicians and governments that subverted the rule of law for personal gain. For more than two decades its Operating System was a convoluted shuffle of bribes and cover-ups that gave the lawless their way and the ranks a handsome supplement to their pay.

And it was in this culture that our current commissioner was bred; rose through the ranks; constable through sergeant; inspector; Assistant Superintendant to Commissioner; enjoying career growth and professional promotions under governments that were internationally known for their complicity in corruption and murder and drug trafficking and human trafficking and organized prostitution and rape; more recently for making soft statements of support for two policemen involved in heinous torture tactics.

Police corruption is in no way unique to Guyana. It is a consensus amongst sociologists that a camaraderie develops amongst groups that pledge to ‘watch out and protect our own’.It is in this climate of service that we see a continuum of compromise that, potentially, extends to every successive batch of recruits.

Many new governments recognize that one of their signature contributions to the restoration of law and order would be to examine and purge law enforcement unit. A purge by paraphrased definition is the expulsion of elements that will otherwise interfere with purification because these elements themselves are considered contaminated by association.

Often, police forces that have a culture of corruption are revamped by injecting new leadership, often from outside of the police force, to infuse a system of operations in ethical conduct and pride in policing communities, by winning the respect and cooperation of residents.

So it’s this inexplicable reverence to Commissioner Seelall Persaud, who was oriented in a system that thrived on lawlessness, under whose short tenure the crime rate is already at astronomical levels, and the President’s lack of interest in him demitting office, that remains the question of many who are still wondering how this police force that should be undergoing a makeover will ever appear credible to its citizens and the international community, if the top cop remains shrouded in a cloak of malpractice.

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