GHRA concerned at Kerik attachment
Guyana Chronicle
February 8, 2007

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THE Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) has expressed concern about the decision by President Bharrat Jagdeo to enlist former New York top cop Bernard Kerik as an adviser on national security.

In a release the GHRA said: “It would be puzzling if U.S. concerns about Mr. (Henry) Greene (Police Commissioner) trigger misgivings in President Jagdeo, given his zeal to appoint Mr. Bernard Kerik whose indiscretions are well documented for the world to see. They include harassment suits, misuse of personnel and property for personal gain; connection with organised crime; failure to comply with ethic rules on gifts; fines of US$221,000 for ethic violations and removal of Mr. Kerik’s name from the Manhattan Detention Complex by New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg.”

The GHRA further charged that in contrast to the drift and indecision about domestic appointments, the determination to appoint Kerik is particularly intriguing because his strengths do not appear to coincide with Guyana’s needs, as Kerik’s success was in fighting street crime and not in restructuring a police force.

According to the GHRA Kerik was a failure as a police adviser on the restructuring of the Iraqi Police Force.

“As a former shareholder of the company which produced stun-guns, it is not surprising his tenure was mainly on night patrols hunting death squads. By all accounts he was never around during the day, never read a document and lasted only three months,” the GHRA claimed.

It added: “The problem with action men like Kerik is that when the money dries up the action stops and we are back to square one. President Jagdeo’s preference for a one-man show in the form of the controversial Bernard Kerik needs explaining in the context of Guyana’s security needs.”

According to the organisation, the intention of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) funded Citizens Security Programme is to fundamentally re-orient the Guyana Police Force into a modern intelligence-led police service turn the current ratio of 75% of the force engaged in clerical jobs and 25% operational “on its head and outsource secretarial and office jobs to civilians, restructure and simplify the rank system and prioritise policing with the community as a central and not ‘soft’ police option.”

The GHRA asserted that while in keeping with the major recommendations of the Disciplined Services Commission Report, given Kerik’s track record, this programme is not an agenda to interest him.

It is claiming too that the ease with which President Jagdeo has dismissed concerns about Kerik’s background is a source of much disquiet among citizens.

The GHRA also expressed concerns with the number of acting appointments in the administration of justice in Guyana, including the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Chancellor, the Chief Magistrate, the Commissioner of Police along with the five High Court judges and many court staff.

“Acting appointments to high office are frowned upon in democratic societies because they represent non-specific threats to the independence of the office-holder,” GHRA contended.

The GHRA also contended that in the case of the Police Commissioner it is particularly unacceptable because the President has expressed confidence in Mr. Greene, noting that he was doing a good job.