Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Guyana: Top cop approves own gun dealership, firearm licences applications

Guyana Chronicle:–  IN a shocking revelation, outgoing Commissioner of Police Seelall Persaud late January applied to himself and granted approval for his business, Professional Outdoor Supplies, to be granted permission as a registered firearms dealer as well as being licensed to carry various calibre of weapons.

is decision has raised eyebrows within the administration, with persons deeming it unprofessional and unethical. In a letter dated January 29, 2018 and seen by this newspaper, Persaud responding to an application by himself wrote ”Dear Sir, I refer to your application in relation to the above subject and wish to inform you that approval is granted for your business Professional Outdoors Supplies to become a registered Firearms Dealer.”
Persaud further wrote “Please make contact with the Assistant Commissioner Law Enforcement at the Criminal Investigation Department Headquarters, in connection with the issuing of the licence.”

In another letter dated January 26, 2018 and captioned “Application for firearm licences Mr Seelall Persaud (DSM), Persaud wrote to himself “Dear Mr Persaud, I refer to your application, in relation to the above subject and wish to inform you that approval is granted for you to be issued with firearm licences to use (1) 9MM Pistol, (1) 12, 16 or 20-Gauge Pump Action Shotgun.”

Persaud further wrote to himself saying, “Please make contact with the Divisional Commander ‘A’ Division at the divisional headquarters, Brickdam, in connection with: the issuing of the licences and the conditions under which the licences are granted.”
The police chief’s letter to himself added: “You are advised to ensure that there is adequate means of security for the firearms when they are in use.” He further advised himself that “If you neglect to proceed expeditiously to obtain the necessary licences within one year, then you may be denied same if the conditions under which you were granted this approval have changed.”

Persaud will sign out from the Force today at a ceremony billed for the Police Sports Club ground. It is expected to be punctuated with lots of pomp and pageantry. He leaves office months after a commission of inquiry had recommended that he be fired or asked to resign over his alleged role in the police bungling of the investigation into the alleged plot to assassinate President David Granger.

A senior government official commenting on the gun licences approval, criticised the move by Persaud calling it unprofessional and unethical. “How can you as a sitting commissioner apply to yourself and grant approval to yourself licences to operate a firearm dealership and upgrade your weapons…” “He should have waited until he retires, this is downright unethical…” the senior official commented.

The Paul Slowe Commission of Inquiry report had stated that Persaud had improperly inserted himself into the investigation into the alleged plot against the President, although he was on leave. At the time, Assistant Commissioner of Police David Ramnarine was acting in the capacity of police commissioner. He is the second most senior rank in the Force. The commission had submitted that the commissioner’s insertion of himself into the matter “adversely influenced the conduct of the investigations.

It noted too that the commissioner had acted improperly when he contacted Imran Khan, who was arrested at CID headquarters for disorderly behaviour on his mobile phone and engaged him in a fairly lengthy conversation. “This no doubt had a demoralising effect on the ranks on duty at CID Headquarters at that time.

This is evidence because up to the time of the CoI, Khan had not been charged for the offence of disorderly behaviour,” the report stated. Additionally, the report speaks to clear “conflict of interest” and noted that the top cop should have recused himself from the matter. The commission also found that Persaud’s decision to bypass the chain of command and instruct that Nizam Khan be sent on bail is unacceptable.

Persaud on March 10, 2015, took the oath of office confirming him as the country’s 31st commissioner of police. He succeeded Leroy Brumell. Born on the Essequibo Coast, Persaud spent most of his years in the Police Force at the Criminal Investigation Department. He headed the Police Anti-Narcotics Unit (Drug Squad) for 10 years and served as the country’s crime chief for another seven years.


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