Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo, on Friday said the ongoing Assassination Plot Commission of Inquiry is not good for the country and only serves to destroy the reputation of senior police ranks and diminish the morale of the Guyana Police Force.
His comments come almost two weeks after the commencement of the Paul Slowe Commission of Inquiry into the alleged plot to assassinate President David Granger. The Commission is examining, among other things, whether the Guyana Police Force conducted a proper investigation.
But the Opposition Leader is not impressed.
According to Jagdeo, who served as President for twelve years, “imagine this is the priority [of the government] when they should be looking at recapturing the prisoners that escaped, Senior Police Officers have to go there and be disparaged by a Mr. Slowe. I think the matter is trivial and could have been solved differently,” he said.
Jagdeo was particularly critical of Inquiry Commissioner, Paul Slowe, who is a retired Assistant Commissioner of Police and who served the Guyana Police Force while Jagdeo was President.
Mr. Jagdeo described Paul Slowe, a retired Assistant Commissioner as “a relatively junior officer” who he considered an activist of the Coalition government.
It was Slowe, who as Assistant Police Commissioner, had refused a directive from then Home Affairs Minister under the Jagdeo government, Ronald Gajraj, to return a gun to a Berbice man although the gun was part of a shooting investigation. Gajraj attempted to have Slowe removed over that refusal but was challenged by the Courts.
At his Friday press conference, Mr. Jagdeo said he could not support Slowe’s questioning of the leadership of the force and how they conducted the investigation.
He said a better intervention on the government’s part would have been to call in the Police and place them on notice that the government was not satisfied and request a comprehensive report.
“That would have had the matter addressed and we would not have had to spend millions of dollars but they opted for a public inquiry into a so-called assassination plot at a time when the country is facing its more serious threats to law and order,” he added.
Jagdeo repeatedly noted that the COI was, in essence, destroying the morale of the entire Force in the public’s view.
He said this destruction was being done in a partisan way and had consequences for who will take over the leadership of the force in the future.
“It’s a Charade. It’s not necessary at this time. We have bigger fish to fry,” he concluded.
The Commission of Inquiry learnt from the Acting Police Commissioner, David Ramnarine, on Friday, that the Force did not conduct a proper investigation.