—cites political motive for ‘harassment’
Former Chairman of the Police Service Commission and Assistant Police Commissioner (Ret’d), Paul Slowe said the attempt by ranks of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) to arrest him at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court was a political move intended to humiliate him.
Slowe, who served the Guyana Police Force for more than 48 years, said in attempting to effect the arrest, the SOCU officers assaulted him, and as such, he will be taking appropriate action against them. “I was assaulted,” Slowe told Political Activist, Mark Benschop during an online interview shortly after the ‘standoff’ at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court on Friday. Maintaining that the SOCU Officers had no authority to arrest him, Slowe said he will take the “correct course of action,” after consulting with his lawyers.
The SOCU officers had attempted to arrest him moments after he arrived at the Court to answer to a number of charges including a charge of alleged fraud but Slowe objected. Video footage showed the ranks physically holding on to Slowe, who advised that he was already properly before the court on the said charge they were trying to arrest him for. When Slowe’s Attorney Selwyn Pieters later arrived and cautioned the ranks against what they were attempting, they continued to manhandle the former Chairman of the Police Service Commission.
It took the intervention of attorney Patrice Henry before Slowe was allowed to proceed to the court room to answer to the charge against him. Henry heaped shame on the ranks, telling them someone of Slowe’s stature ought to be accorded the respect and decorum. “I’m very upset as to what transpired,” Slowe said.
Contextualising the issue at hand, Slowe explained that on May 19, he along with eight others were charged with conspiracy to defraud the Guyana Police Force, however, he was out of the country at the time. On Wednesday, October 13, he returned to Guyana ahead of the Friday, October 15, 2021 Court hearing, with the intention of being present. The Assistant Police Commissioner (Ret’d) was keen on pointing out that he was never questioned on the allegations leveled against him. “I was never questioned, I was never arrested, nobody never questioned me about this allegation about conspiracy to commit fraud but last Friday, they took a summons to the Office of Mr. Nigel Hughes, and he sent it to me, which said I should appear in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court 3 Friday morning,” he detailed.
The summons, Slowe said, had no time attached, and as such, he appeared at the Magistrates’ Court just before 11:00hrs on Friday, October 16 to answer to the charges. Upon his arrival, Slowe said he was confronted by four SOCU ranks in civilian clothing. Assistant Superintendent Krishnadat Ramana, who was among the officers present, informed Slowe of their intention to arrest him but he objected on the basis that the matter was already before the Court.
“They held onto me, they assaulted, they held onto me,” Slowe said while iterating that the SOCU ranks had no lawful reason to arrest him. They had instructed him to proceed to the enquiries office at the court, but he also objected. “You cannot put the matter before the court and then you try to intervene,” he lamented.
Slowe said with the help of his Attorney Selwyn Pieters and Attorney-at-Law Patrice Henry, he was allowed to go to the Court room. The ranks reportedly accompanied him, but soon after the charges were read, they disappeared.
Notably, Pieters informed the Court of the treatment that was meted out to the former Chairman of the Police Service Commission upon his arrival at the Court. Slowe said he is convinced that SOCU, which is headed by Senior Superintendent Fazil Karimbaksh, is being directed by politicians. He said the intention is to “harass and intimidate” him.
“…there is no question about that, that is what they are doing,” he posited while pointing out that under his chairmanship at the Police Service Commission, Karimbaksh was disciplined.
Slowe said even before his arrival in Guyana, ranks were sent to the airport twice to arrest him but he had not arrived at the time. “I know one of the aim that they had from the inception was to try to harass me to embarrass me,” he said.
He said Friday’s action came as no major surprise. “I can’t say that I was totally surprised but I really thought that they were coming with something new but to hear they are trying to arrest me on matters that are already before the court, then I realise that was ridiculous,” Slowe said.
At the conclusion of his court cases, Slowe filed a criminal complaint at the Brickdam Police Station against the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affair, Anil Nandlall.
It is alleged that the Attorney General, while speaking on his online programme Issues In the News, called Slowe, and the other outgoing commissioners anarchists. It is alleged further that he dubbed Slowe “a bad John.”
“I was advised that what he said amounted to harassment, bullying and it is a violation of the Cyber Crime Act of 2018,” Slowe said. He said to date he feels threatened, bullied and fearful for his life. The Assistant Police Commissioner (Ret’d) said he provided the police with a statement as well as a transcript of the online video programme, and it is his expectation that the matter would be investigated and placed before the Court.