Corbin urges gov’t to appoint Felix as Top Cop

Stabroek News
January 11, 2003

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PNCR Chairman and interim leader Robert Corbin has called on the government to proceed with the appointment of Deputy Commissioner Winston Felix as the substantive Commissioner of Police.

The government had said that Felix would be appointed as of January 1 this year but that the process has been held up because of the impasse between it and the opposition parties over parliamentary committees and the service commissions.

Speaking at his party’s weekly press conference on Thursday, Corbin noted that all parties in the joint consultations have agreed that Felix should be appointed forthwith as a positive signal that the government is committed to the strengthening of the force.

“Instead, spokespersons for the regime continue to attempt to deceive the public by arguing that it is the absence of the PNCR from the National Assembly that is preventing the constitution of the Service Commissions,” Corbin stated.

The party is urging President Bharrat Jagdeo and the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Reepu Daman Per-saud to stop “inventing obstacles to prevent the appointment of the Parliamentary Management Committee and the six other standing committees, including the appointive committee, of the National Assembly.”

Corbin argued that the extent of the government’s ill intent is “illustrated by their ridiculous claim that the appointment of the Parlia-mentary Management Com-mittee, which is obliged to report to and take guidance from the National Assembly in which the governing party has the majority, will bring the operation of the National Assembly to a halt.”

Corbin said the appointment of Felix as commissioner was a matter which was agreed upon by the government a long time go.

“We expected that that would have been done promptly having had the agreement, instead the government announced that they would have appointed Mr Felix on the first of January 2003. So that had nothing to do in any event with the parliamentary committee at that time because the government did not have to have the parliamentary committee to appoint Mr (Floyd) McDonald to act. And therefore if the government had the will to do so then it would have shown good intent and appointed Mr Felix we believe even before this year because that was the commitment they gave to the British.....” Corbin said. It has been argued in government circles that the Police Service Commission must be functioning for the appointment to be made.

Corbin said the government has the support not only of his party, but since the crime communique talks began, they also had the support of all the participants involved in the talks that no one would object to Mr Felix’s appointment.

In terms of the service commissions, Corbin said parliament is not needed to form the commission but rather what is needed is the appointive committee and the various sub-committees to be established in accordance with the constitutional arrangements. He noted that the opposition parties have been in discussion with the government on this matter and the delay in the appointive committee is not a matter that can be laid at their feet but it is the unwillingness of the governing party to come to a reasonable arrangement for the functioning of parliament according with the spirit of the constitutional arrangement.

“It is a matter which all of us have to engage ourselves in quickly and we are waiting on a response from the parliamentary team representing the government to see how we can advance that process,” he said.

In other comments Corbin offered condolences to the bereaved families of recent slain police officers. He said there could be no peace and security in Guyana until, “we are able to bring this lawlessness under control. At the same time, we must also condemn the resurgence of police outrages and extra-judicial killings that do nothing to assist the general atmosphere of lawlessness and fear.”

According to Corbin the PNCR has insisted for years that the beginning of a solution to the country’s security problems is the restoration of the morale and confidence of the force and the resurrection of public confidence in the force. “All other solutions are but idle propaganda and helpless platitudes.”

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