Guyana police chief steps aside

A 34-year-old woman has made some explosive allegations against Police Chief Henry Greene, forcing him to step aside this week while authorities prepare to call in investigators from Jamaica to determine whether the claims made by the woman have credence.

The 57-year-old chief who has survived several health crises in recent years and near misses with similar allegations in the past 30 years, has handed over to Assistant Commissioner Leroy Brumell after completing the “handing over process” this week and as the country waits to know his fate.

The woman is the wife of a junior officer of the Guyana Defense Force. She claims that she had approached Greene to recover a mobile phone that police had impounded in a separate matter that had been engaging their attention when he befriended her, ending with allegations that he had forced himself on her at a city hotel owned by a very close friend.

Greene has not denied knowing the woman or that they were in the same company after hours, but has only said that he is consulting attorneys and that God will be his judge.

Authorities at the weekend had announced that the presidential secretariat had “acceded to a request” from the commissioner to proceed on leave to allow for an impartial investigation into the allegations made by the woman to reporters at the office of a prominent attorney.

Women’s groups and opposition parties have lauded the move to step aside while a probe is being set up but most also say that they don’t expect him to return to office because he had substantively retired two years ago and was running the force on a contractual, month-to-month basis, meaning he could be asked to demit office at anytime.

Brumell, 52, Wednesday confirmed that “I am now in charge of daily operations,” but he was reluctant to give more details. Other senior officers said that Greene has spent most of this week handing over command to Brummel who is two ranks his junior because the governing People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has not seen it fit to fill spaces for four deputy commissioners for the past two years.

The incident is reported to have occurred in the weeks before the Nov. 28 general elections. Latest word is that government is likely to ask Jamaica to send a senior investigator to probe the claims in keeping with the weekend statement that had promised authorities would seek “external assistance” because it would be improper for lower ranks to investigate the chief.

Greene became chief in mid 2006, around the same time the U.S. had revoked his visa on allegations that he had benefited from the drug charge, suggestions he has vehemently denied.

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