Written by Leroy Smith, Reporter, Guyana Chronicle
Saturday, 15 September 2012 23:06
IT is with much frustration in every meaning of the word that I pen this letter to the press regarding what can only be described as nothing but unprofessionalism by a senior member of the Guyana Police Force, whose job it is to serve and protect.
I am a journalist attached to the Guyana Chronicle newspaper, and one of my main areas of focus is covering crime and security, among other issues that arise from time to time.
On several occasions, I have had cause to call the Commissioner of Police, Mr Leroy Brumell, and other senior members of the Guyana Police Force for information; and there are instances when they share information, and when they do not, their reason is usually that they are not in receipt of all the facts, and offer to appraise themselves while giving me a time to call them back.
It is, however, sad to say that I cannot say the same for the recently promoted Seelall Persaud who acts as this country’s Crime Chief, and whom the Head of State of this country, President Donald Ramotar, saw fit to promote as Deputy Commissioner of Police.
EVERY SINGLE TIME that I call Mr. Persaud on his mobile phone in relation to my work, he hangs up the phone on me; and there seems to be no ending to this nasty and unprofessional practice, which I hate to think he considers normal behaviour for someone holding the position he holds.
There were about two occasions earlier this year where I called Mr. Persaud to acquire information and comments in relation to stories that needed a comment from the police, as is a normal basic journalistic principle. Those efforts were all met with Mr Persaud abruptly terminating the calls and refusing to answer any other calls coming from my number.
The most recent of this unsavoury practice occurred on Saturday, September 15, when I called Mr. Persaud to get from him a comment in relation to a front page headline carried in the Guyana Chronicle of September 15th in which several female nursing students of the Georgetown School of Nursing were accusing a CID rank of fondling them during a cavity search for some missing money.
While I do not expect Mr. Persaud to understand journalistic principles and how the media operates, I do expect him to understand that his usual behaviour towards me — for which I am yet to find a reason — is nothing but downright disrespectful to another human being, and insultive to the Guyana Police Force and the President of this country, who appointed him as a Deputy Police Commissioner.
The Guyana Police Force needs people who can relate with the public and retain the confidence of the public; and Mr. Seelall Persaud, I am now gathering, may not be one such person. Moreover, he might not even be fit to head the Criminal Investigation Department of this country.
It is recommended that, despite their ranking in the GPF, police officers should have a “good’ relationship with members of the public; and despite how it is twisted and/or turned, I am also a member of the public.
It is because of the good relationship that some police officers have with the public that they are often given tip-offs and information that assists in investigations.
In closing, I am calling on the Commissioner of Police, the Police Office of Professional Responsibility, and all other concerned agencies and oversight bodies of the Guyana Police Force to find out what seems to be troubling Mr. Seelal Persaud.
In addition, it would be very interesting to know if Mr. Seelal Persaud, who is one of those persons authorized to speak to the media, has a personal vendetta against me as a reporter, or is harbouring something against the Guyana Chronicle as the state newspaper. That will be interesting to know, because this very recently senior promoted officer is often quoted in other sections of the media giving comments on many other issues that are of interest to the media and by extension the public.
As a journalist, I have a right to seek information wherever necessary, especially when the issue at hand is of importance to the public, whom Mr. Persaud took an oath to serve and protect.
I have since reported Mr. Seelall Persaud’s unkind and unprofessional behaviour to the Editor in Chief of the Guyana Chronicle newspaper, and plan to do the same the next time I meet the Commissioner of Police and the Home Affairs Minister.