M&CC CoI…as 12 bodyguards assigned to Mayor, former Mayor…break-in at training centre covered upThe Chief Constable’s competence and his magnitude of command over the department which he presides was questioned on Wednesday, as the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into City Hall’s operations heard that no conclusive investigations were carried out for several activities at the Mayor and City Council (M&CC).Placed under oath to testify before the lone Commissioner, Justice Cecil Kennard, Chief Constable of the City Constabulary, Andrew Foo was grilled on an incident whereby the Constabulary’s Training Complex on Water Street was broken into by employees at City Hall. In that August 14, 2018 incident, the locks on the doors were smashed and “three thick books” were taken from the southern and westernChief Constable Andrew Fooends of the building.Foo produced information from a report which states that the women acted on the instructions of Town Clerk Royston King, since he is the sole custodial for the Council’s assets.Moreover, they related that the books were taken to gather “pertinent information” for the 175th city week anniversary celebrations.Legal Assistant Sherwin Benjamin questioned why the locks were broken if they were given permission by the Town Clerk, who possessed the keys to these rooms. Furthermore, he directed as to why financial records aren’t submitted to the Auditor General when officers of the Council can acquire any financial documents needed.“Wasn’t she given a key? No key was given, a lock was broken and books removed subsequently… The instructions and all of these things were happening under the directive of the Town Clerk who happens to be the custodial of all documents of the city. The same Town Clerk cannot provide to the auditor all documentation required for them to complete audits for years.”With respect to the investigation, the Commission found that no formal report was made until October 17; one day after the Chief Constable presented himself for questioning after being subpoenaed. This is more than two months after the incident would have occurred. In his defence, Foo stated that a “verbal report” wasMayor Patricia Chase Greengiven. Benjamin replied, “Doesn’t that speak volumes of the competence of your department and more so, you as the head of the department?”Justice Kennard then stated his opinion based on the actuality of the events stating, “It’s a cover-up. It’s a sham.”He is of the belief that the authentic reason why the books, most likely financial records, were taken is being hidden from the Commission since there are multiple cover-up stories by senior employees at City Hall.This was evident in the Deputy Town Clerk Sharon Harry-Munroe’s statement who refuted the claims that keys are present in the office of the Town Clerk and further asserting that the City Constabulary is the holder of such keys.If that is the case, Benjamin posited that it is a criminal offence since the Chief Constable who permits ingress and egress to the complex was unaware of these activities.“Therein makes the break and enter a criminal offence. Because he who happens to be the Chief Constable is completely unaware that documents were needed. He didn’t authorise it… Is that following the standard operating procedure?” he probed.Selectively understaffedFor many months, there has been an ongoing public decry that the City Constabulary is short-staffed and cannot effectively carryout their duties. However, this reflects differently from the fraction of staffers that are used as bodyguards for present and former employees.Currently, there are 191 officers employed to the City Constabulary with 67 auxiliary guards but according to Foo, the “requirement” is some 345 persons.“Our authorised strength should be 345. We currently have 191 in terms of staffFormer Mayor Hamilton Greenand 67 security guards.”Out of the limited amount, eight were appointed to provide protection for the Mayor, Patricia Chase Green and four for the former Mayor, Hamilton Green. This figure does not include other members of the Council who are also provided with security.“The former Mayor, Hamilton Green has one Lance Corporal and three security guards. The current Mayor has eight.” Puzzled as to why so many security personnel are needed, the Commissioner replied, “This is ridiculous… Who would harm her? This is a wastage of money and that is why City Hall is bankrupted.”Foo noted that he would have asked on a number of occasions for additional officers to be employed but it was the Council’s decision to assign these bodyguards to the respective City Hall associates.Back in July, the Chief Constable would’ve indicated in an interview with the Guyana Times that there was a freeze in the hiring process since there weren’t enough financial resources to pay an increased workforce.There has been an increase in robberies around Georgetown, especially at the Stabroek and Bourda Markets which are considered “criminal hotspots”.In the midst of the bodyguard crisis, John Walters who is a bodyguard of Royston King was issued a firearm despite the fact that he does not possess a relevant licence or a supernumerary precept. Walters affirmed these allegations during his witness statement.