Georgetown, Guyana – (September 12, 2018) President David Granger, today, swore in Justice William Ramlall as the Chairman of the Police Complaints Authority, an independent body, which he said can contribute to enhancing public trust in the Force.
Speaking at a simple ceremony held at State House, the Head of State noted that the powers of discipline and dismissal, applied fairly, can encourage probity and discourage misconduct.
“An efficient Police Force is essential to human safety and public security. The Constitution, at Article 137, mandates the establishment of a Police Service Commission, which was done last month. The existence of a Commission, however, is not enough to guarantee that the Force would be officered by persons who are competent, committed and uncorrupted. A Force, which is contaminated by corruption, cannot safeguard the security of our citizens. Service in the Force must be based on the values of commitment, competence and incorruptibility,” he said.
The President noted that the Police Force, if it is to maintain public safety, must ensure that it enjoys public trust and reminded that the idea of public trust arises out of the relationship between the police and the public.
“All politics is about people. It follows that whatever trust the people place in the police must be respected. Bribery is regarded as a notorious crime because it contributes to corruption and, thereby, undermines, public trust. That is the reason when I was asked what qualities I sought in appointing a Commissioner of Police I did not hesitate to say that he must be “unbribable.” The question asked by the Roman poet, Juvenal, 2,000 years ago – Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? [Who will watch the watchmen themselves?] suggests that it is impossible to enforce, or expect, ethical conduct if the enforcers themselves are unethical,” President Granger said.
This Authority is vested with powers to receive complaints of specified cases of misconduct by members of the Police Force and supervise investigation of certain serious crimes alleged to have been committed by members of the Police Force.
Section 3 (1) of the Police Complaints Authority Act, states that the Authority “shall consist of one person to be appointed by the President from among persons who have been, who are or who are qualified to be, a Puisne judge of the High Court.”
“Today’s appointment of the Police Complaints Authority is compliant with the provisions of our laws. It is also consistent with the government’s commitment to increasing public trust in the Police Force. The Authority can help to improve the level of public trust between the police and the public. The Authority is a critical link between the police and the public. It provides a means through which the public can have its grievances against police malpractice addressed in an impartial manner by an independent person. The Authority is a public defence against the Force’s abuse of citizens’ rights. The Authority allows citizens to hold the Force’s members accountable for their actions,” the Head of State noted.
He added that the authority can engender greater public trust in the Force by ensuring that the Force’s actions are in conformity with respect for human rights, including the right to life and liberty, which are guaranteed by the Constitution.
The Authority is also expected to exhibit the qualities of impartiality, integrity and independence and the President assured that in so doing, it can rely on the Executive’s support in discharging its lawful mandate.