It is not known whether the post of Commissioner of Police, which has become vacant with the retirement of now former Commissioner, Seelall Persaud, will be advertised to facilitate applicants from Guyana and the Caribbean, or will be ‘selected.’ President Granger implemented that policy in relation to the posts of Chancellor and Chief Justice, for which he had argued forcefully as Leader of the Opposition. It was productive because one such applicant was nominated for the post of Chancellor. Consistency demands that the position of Commissioner of Police be similarly advertised so as to attract the best qualified from Guyana and the region.
When appointed, the new Commissioner will recognize that without the cooperation of the public who provide information and intelligence, the capacity of the Police to solve crime would be severely diminished. It appears that such cooperation was significantly enhanced during the tenure of Commissioner Seelall Persaud. This saw a heightened crime resolving effort by the Police which deteriorated as soon as the Police came under public attack at the recent inquiry and the negative consequences of that inquiry. It is hoped that under new leadership the Police will revive its effort at good community relations which is recognized the world over as vital to crime-solving.
Leader of the PNCR, Chairman of APNU and Leader of the Opposition, David Granger, has had to field questions recently about the effectiveness of the Opposition which together control a majority by one of the seats in the National Assembly. Challenges have also come from within the PNCR to Mr. Granger’s leadership by two formidable opponents, Carl Greenidge first and then Aubrey Norton. The clumsy handling of those challenges, particularly the most recent earlier this year, last left a degree of bitterness which is still being felt.
David Granger has always been a political animal but never served in a leadership position until his elevation, first as presidential candidate, then as Party Leader. His career in the military has always, or mostly, been related to the political, but this did not make for overt political leadership.
The PNCR Congress is always an interesting time for political observers, not least because in recent times there has always been a challenge to the leaders and energetic contests for other positions. In recent years both Robert Corbin and David Granger have had to overcome serious challenges. The untimely passing a few years ago of the widely respected Winston Murray, derailed what would have been the most serious contest in the PNCR leadership, perhaps in its history.
The leadership contest this time around is taking place between two talented and experienced Party operatives with impeccable credentials in terms of how they are seen by PNCR members and supporters. Mr. Norton has been in the public eye for a longer period and represents a more militant approach within the PNCR, even though he has worked to modify this image and has demonstrated an interest in wider policy matters. Mr. Granger is the incumbent and has already stamped an image of decisive and thoughtful leadership of both the PNCR and the Opposition. I listened to a speech by him last Wednesday at the opening of a seminar on Parliament, the People and the Media. He has completely lost the hesitancy and soft tones displayed when he was first elected. He is now a commanding presence with a forceful and coherent message.