BY: DR. LESLIE RAMSAMMY
David Granger, still squatting in the President’s Office, last week instructed the Chief of Staff of the GDF, Brigadier Patrick West, to proceed on pre-retirement leave. Brigadier West will reach retirement age next year, but has accumulated nine months of deferred annual leave to cover all remaining time on the job. Last week, in accordance with policy Mr. Granger himself insisted on when he assumed the Presidency in 2015, Mr. Granger instructed the Chief of Staff to immediately embark on his pre-retirement leave, effectively ending his tenure as Chief of Staff. By itself, this is innocuous, consistent with policy. Still, given that a new President is soon to be sworn in, and a new government, the practice is that the new President would have been the best person to effect this movement and to select the person to act as the Chief of Staff until the time for the formal installation of a new Chief of Staff. But this diversion from best-practice is a story for another time.
The same exact circumstances exist with the Police Commissioner, Mr. Leslie James, who will attain retirement age early next year. Like Brigadier West, Mr. James has accumulated more deferred annual leave (ten months) than the time left before his retirement. He should have proceeded on pre-retirement leave several months ago, if the policy Mr. Granger insisted on in 2015 was applied. On Tuesday (June 30), Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan, the squatter in the Ministry of Public Security, confessed he has no idea why Mr. James had still not proceeded on pre-retirement leave. Once a reporter posted this story, Ramjattan, as usual, denied he said such things. Regardless, the continued presence of Mr. James on the job is not in accordance with policy, the same policy Mr. Granger used to instruct the Chief of Staff of the GDF to immediately proceed on pre-retirement leave.
The same set of circumstances applies to the Deputy Police Commissioner, Ms. Maxine Graham. She has accumulated six months deferred annual leave, more time than time left for her retirement. She is still on the job. The policy that was applied so effectively by David Granger in the case of Brigadier West has not been applied for the two most senior officers in the Guyana Police Force. Given West was so quickly vanquished, why the special and differential treatment for James and Graham?
Why has Granger acted so resolutely when it comes to Brigadier West of the GDF, but applies a different set of lens, for the Guyana Police Force? Granger, uncharacteristically, responded rather quickly to this question. He has indicated that the two most senior officers of the police force are engaged in an ongoing operation related to the March 2 elections and it is not an appropriate time for them to proceed on pre-retirement leave. This explanation leaves more questions than answers. If the reason specified by Mr. Granger is an ongoing special operation, how come the squatter Ramjattan is unaware?
Inquiring Guyanese minds are now busy with rampant speculation, given the special and differential application of the pre-retirement policy, particularly in the midst of a barefaced attempt to steal the March 2 elections. It is not unreasonable for most Guyanese to think something is seriously amiss. It comes at a time when it was reported that two weekends ago, Mr. Granger called in the Chief of Staff of the Army for a meeting at Granger’s home. There was no information as to the nature of that meeting. It comes at a time, more sinisterly, when Mr. Granger staged a radio show in which he made pellucid he expects GECOM to use Lowenfield’s bogus report to declare him the winner.
That Mr. Granger so unequivocally informed the nation only Lowenfield’s tabulation must be considered for the swearing in of the President lead most Guyanese and other stakeholders outside of Guyana to believe Granger will stage a coup d’état in our country, through a thieving of the elections.
Since Granger’s pronouncements, two things derailed Granger’s last weekend swearing in plan. The CCJ set a date for its decision on July 8. More significantly, the US Secretary of State (equivalent to a Foreign Affairs Minister) announced he has instructed his staff to prepare sanctions against those who are trying to steal Guyana’s elections. Mr. Pompeo’s declaration that the US has shifted gears from threatening sanction to implementing a sanction regime has caused Mr. Granger to sober up a little and again fall back on his posture he is awaiting a declaration from GECOM.
Mr. Granger’s hypocrisy relating to the March 2 elections leaves too many Guyanese suspicious of the differential actions taken with the Heads of the army and the police. The election shenanigans have led the majority of Guyanese to see sinister motives, thinking maybe Mr. Granger did not have confidence in Brigadier West’s willingness to go along with any planned illegal occupation of the government, disregarding the elections results. Therefore, the policy of pre-retirement leave only applied to him and not other security officials. It is also unfair on both the Police Commissioner and his deputy because it gives the impression that both are willing to go along with Granger’s illegal path.