President lauds Greene for `decent job’ By Mark Ramotar
Guyana Chronicle
December 29, 2006

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PRESIDENT Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday lauded acting Police Commissioner Henry Greene for doing a “fairly decent job” so far and said at some appropriate time he will look into the matter of whether to confirm him or not to the substantive post.

“I think the acting Commissioner of Police is doing a fairly decent job and at some appropriate time I will look into the matter whether to confirm him or not,” the President told reporters yesterday.

He declined to give a timeframe for this appointment but hinted that it may be soon.

Greene has been acting since late July when now retired Police Commissioner Winston Felix proceeded on pre-retirement leave that came to an end on November 1.

The United States has revoked Greene’s diplomatic and multiple U.S. visas and some felt this had put a damper on his imminent appointment.

Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon, last month said the government was satisfied with the “creditable performance” of Greene, and hinted that he will be appointed to the post.

Luncheon had told reporters the likelihood of somebody else being appointed Police Commissioner over Greene was “a bit remote” at this point in time.

President Jagdeo yesterday also reiterated that he is sticking with his choice of controversial former New York top cop Bernard Kerik for a key role in the anti-crime fight here.

Asked at a news conference at the Office of the President whether he will still be hiring Kerik, the President’s crisp answer was: “Yes, he will be hired”.

The Guyanese Head of State has maintained that security and improved race relations are the priorities of his new term as President and there is need for effective strategies to combat the heightened incidence of crime.

Kerik has been in discussions with the Guyana Government and is slated to play an integral part in the planned restructuring and reforms of the Guyana Police Force.

President Jagdeo’s choice of Kerik has, however, been criticised in some quarters based on Kerik’s problematic background of a so-called history of ethical improprieties.

President Jagdeo yesterday also said he is “very pleased with the level of joint service cooperation” involving members of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) and the Police Force.

“In the past there had been many instances where, because of a lack of training and no clear operational guidelines, we have had tensions and conflicts between members of the Joint Services since essentially they operate differently, but I am very pleased that this has improved significantly and the joint operations are being conducted in a well-oiled manner and smoothly and the lines of command clear,” the President declared.

He noted that by working together, the Army and the Police have “developed a camaraderie and a unity of purpose that I think is serving us very well today.”

“This is something that we will encourage more (in future) - Joint Services operations to tackle issues of law and order in Guyana,” he added.

The President recalled that a significant number of persons were concerned about the security situation in the country at the beginning of 2006 and that concern persists even today, though maybe to a lesser extent given the recent successes in the crime fight.

“I gave the assurances that the security forces would have been ready on Elections Day and the period (leading up) to Elections Day and immediately afterwards to ensure that law and order was maintained and I must say that the security forces vindicated themselves and they did an excellent job,” he told reporters.

“We have had to spend a significant amount of money both on the elections and we have provided a huge supplementary budget to the security forces and I am very pleased to say that, excepting for a few incidents…the security forces have had significant levels of successes against the drug dealers and the criminals who haunt our country,” the President said.

He said the issue that is of concern to him, his government and most Guyanese, is the shocking loss of a number of high-powered weapons from the Army earlier this year.

“The loss of those weapons still rests heavily on our psyche and unless and until those weapons are found we will not let up; we will keep the pressure on the Army to ensure that they do whatever it takes to recover those weapons,” the Guyanese Head of State said.

“We have had some limited successes in this regard but we cannot rest until all those weapons have been returned to the military,” he said.

Thirteen of the 30 AK-47 rifles which were discovered missing in February have been recovered so far.