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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Felix reckless

-- Teixiera

HOME Affairs Minister Gail Teixeira last night rapped beleaguered Police Commissioner Winston Felix over his move to the court to block a possible probe by a tribunal into explosive tapes of telephone conversations believed to be his.

Ms. Teixeira, who last Friday told reporters Mr. Felix was a professional and had supported her as minister, accused the Commissioner of arriving at “erroneous conclusions” and the “height of recklessness” in making public “unworthy claims”.

In a statement, she argued, “If the Commissioner of Police has nothing to hide and the disclosures on the tapes are all forgeries, surely in the face of mounting public concern he would see merit in not opposing an investigation as laid out in the Constitution.”

Felix moved to the court Tuesday seeking an order to block the Prime Minister from proceeding with steps that could see him appearing before a tribunal to answer serious accusations levelled against him in the leaked tape recordings in the Tapegate affair.

Here is the text of the statement by Teixeira:

“Last Friday June 9, I was asked by the media about my opinion of the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Felix.

I stated that he was a professional and that he had given me support as the Minister of Home Affairs.

I now wish to comment publicly on the publicized pleadings of the Commissioner of Police in his move to the High Court of Guyana to forestall the Prime Minister from discharging his constitutional function to determine whether to advise the President about an investigation into the contents of the tapes, their authenticity and whether those constituted misbehaviour on the part of the Commissioner.

Further, his action is also seeking to prevent the Prime Minister from considering advising the President to launch an investigation into the source of the tapes and its implications for national security.

If the Commissioner of Police has nothing to hide and the disclosures on the tapes are all forgeries, surely in the face of mounting public concern he would see merit in not opposing an investigation as laid out in the Constitution.

The Commissioner of Police has reportedly pleaded that “it appears to me that the Government of Guyana has adopted Khan’s stated objectives and has purportedly commenced invocation of the constitutional provisions to effect my removal from office.”

The Commissioner further stated that, “it appears as if the Government like Khan is intent on removing me from office.”

I would like to disclose to the Commissioner of Police how erroneous his conclusions are and the height of recklessness he has publicly displayed in making those unworthy claims.

In fact, it is indeed true that many Guyanese have been shocked and affronted by the revelations on the tapes. So serious were those disclosures such as shielding criminals, conspiring to divert attention from criminals, aiding and abetting unlawful actions and planting drugs on innocent people, that no one questioned the Government’s responsible action in seeking external technical and professional advice on the matter.

What the Commissioner of Police in his pleadings seems to have conveniently overlooked is that since the release of the first tape in March 2006, neither by commission nor by omission has the Government sought to constrain the Commissioner of Police and the Joint Services from discharging their statutory functions with regards to law enforcement interventions.

The joint operations which began after the loss of the AK 47s from the Army HQ led to the raids on the properties of persons allegedly involved in narcotics as well as those well known to the public and internationally in the narco-trade on March 19. The Commissioner cannot allege or accuse the Government of any attempt to interfere in this process from that time up to today.

Nor has it interfered in any way with their fight against armed bandits, hijackers, backtrackers, fuel smugglers, gun runners, in their search for the weapons stolen from the GDF or the apprehension of members of the Buxton or any other armed gangs.

In fact, what the Commissioner is fully aware of has been the Government’s timely and heightened moral, financial, and logistical support for him and the Joint Services, in their responses to criminal activities.

Since the release of the tapes, the theft of the weapons from the GDF and the horrific assassination of Minister Sawh and family, the Administration had provided to the Joint Services an additional sum of more than $20M for intelligence gathering, authorised the deployment of the GDF from their barracks and enlisted international assistance in the criminal investigations.

Since the airing of the first tape, the Commissioner cannot claim that he has in any way been prevented or encountered any resistance or hostility from the Government in discharging his statutory function.

In fact, it has not been the Administration but the Georgetown Chamber and members from the Private Sector Commission who have been repeating calls for his resignation.

I wish to repeat that if the Commissioner has nothing to hide and the disclosures on the tapes are all forgeries, in the face of mounting public concerns about professionalism and ethical conduct, he would see merit in not opposing an investigation as laid out in the Constitution.

At the time of his assumption of office, the Commissioner called on Guyanese to hold him accountable. Many hardworking policemen and women are facing the loss of credibility of their organisation, the Guyana Police Force.

It is that context that the Commissioner is ignoring.

What the Commissioner has not as yet responded to, is Roger Khan’s public statements about the cozy relationship that he shared with Mr. Khan.

On the surface, it seems that the Commissioner has embarked on an unprofessional course of action, seeking to discredit the Prime Minister and the Administration while using the courts and other technicalities to stave off an investigation into his conduct.

By inference and by words, the Commissioner of Police has unprofessionally and precipitously gone to the courts prejudging the actions to be taken by the Hon. Prime Minister and His Excellency the President on the basis of unsubstantiated and baseless claims against the Government.

Most unacceptably, he went further to accuse the Prime Minister of abdicating his constitutional responsibilities and taking actions governed by partisan political interests. The Commissioner of Police has also rushed to pre-judge the outcome of a tribunal established by the Judicial Service Commission to investigate his behaviour, had these steps been invoked. The Commissioner of Police's move to the High Court and the grounds for his action are reckless and has undermined his professionalism.

His apparent preoccupation with a so-called battle between himself and Roger Khan has created an opportunity for those who have unmistakable partisan political agendas to lead him to this confrontational and unmitigated attack on the Government.

He has cast his lot with a partisan political outlook.”

Guyana Chronicle