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Saturday, June 03, 2006

Felix asked to respond immediately

Prime Minister Samuel Hinds

Commissioner of Police Winston has been requested to respond immediately to allegations which involve a plan to put drugs on a woman who was leaving Guyana through the Cheddi Jagan International Airport , Timehri.

The request was made by Prime Minister Samuel Hinds who wrote the Commissioner, bringing the allegations to his attention.

This announcement was contained in a release from the Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon.

According to the release, “in view of certain complaints, accusations and/or allegations being made against the Commissioner of Police, the Commissioner has been asked to clear his name”.

This move apparently stems from calls for the resignation of the Police Commissioner and/or an investigation into statements attributed to him on a recently released recorded telephone conversation.

However, up to press time last night, Felix was out of Guyana .

Meanwhile, scores of persons protested outside the Office of the President and the office of the Police Service Commission in Kingston requesting the removal of Felix as Commissioner of Police.

The protest stemmed from the detention of numerous persons who were detained during operations currently underway by the Joint Services without them being charged.

A source from the Office of the President said that the letter by the Prime Minister is intended to ensure that due process is followed and the Commissioner is given a fair hearing.

Apart from the apparent conspiracy to plant drugs on a larceny suspect, the tape also contains a conversation between voices identified as that of the Commissioner and Chief of Staff Eddie Collins.

Cabinet Secretary Dr.Roger Luncheon had cautioned about pronouncing on any investigation into the conduct of the Commissioner without first ascertaining the authenticity of the voices on the tape.

A previously released taped conversation, purportedly between Felix and PNCR Vice Chairman Basil Williams, was sent to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for authentication, after the Commissioner had reportedly denied that one of the voices was his. The Government is still awaiting the results.

Attorney-at-law Vic Puran had called on the Commissioner to be charged since, according to him, ‘prima facie, it is Felix's voice on the tape' plotting to put drugs on a person.

Puran had stated that the Director of Public Prosecutions must call for an inquiry to be made into what he described as the criminal conduct of the Commissioner of Police.

The attorney said that it is clear that the offence of conspiracy was committed.

“He has put not only his own reputation on the line, but that of the entire Guyana Police Force,” the attorney had stated earlier this week.

Senior Counsel Bernard Dos Santos, while expressing reservations about the authenticity of the voices on the tape, told Kaieteur News after listening to an excerpt that “it is very serious if it can be shown that the voice is that of the Commissioner.”

Co-leader of the Alliance for Change, Raphael Trotman, said yesterday that his party is concerned about the “unravelling of tensions of the thread holding up the national security apparatus”.

He told Kaieteur News that he received word yesterday that Government is likely to suspend the Commissioner of Police from duties pending the outcome of the investigation. However the AFC has some concerns about what would be the basis of the investigation.

Trotman said the recordings must first be authenticated, or else this would be seen as “putting the cart before the horse”.

He stated that the AFC is equally concerned about what is being done to strengthen the national security sector if the recordings are proven to have been made by non-state actors.

“We believe the first and proper step should be to validate the recordings and validate any actual evidence of impropriety or illegality,” he said. “Checks have to be made on whether there are any other recordings in existence, not only with the Commissioner of Police, but also other public officials,” Trotman said.

Any move to have the Commissioner removed from office will have to go through a process according to the Constitution of Guyana.

According to Article 211(4) of the Constitution, the prescribed authority (the Prime Minister or the Chairman of the Police Service Commission) would have to advise the President on the question of an investigation into possible misbehaviour.

The source at the Office of the President said the President shall then act in accordance with the advice of the Judicial Service Commission on appointing a tribunal. The tribunal shall then enquire into the matter and report its findings to the President.

According to the source, the President cannot suspend the Commissioner of Police before the tribunal ends its work, and only if the Police Service Commission so advises.

The source added that Commissioner Felix is due to go on pre-retirement leave on August 15 this year, but can elect to take his leave earlier.

Kaieteur News