RACE ISSUES TO BE ADDRESSED
April 5 2011 – newsday.co.tt
THREE members appointed to the Police Service Commission (PSC) yesterday admitted that the issue of racial imbalance within the ranks of the Police Service is an issue that must be dealt with. But just not now.
This, as they extended an “olive branch” to fired PSC chairman Nizam Mohammed. At a press briefing held at the Marriott Hotel, Mucurapo, three members of the PSC revealed that the issue of racial imbalances within the Police Service was discussed informally prior to a meeting of the PSC in February. However, they said, the issue was discussed and then the then chairman, Nizam Mohammed, agreed to take the issue off of the meeting’s formal agenda. Instead, he later sought the protection of Parliament in order to raise the issue in an open forum. The PSC members said they were shocked when this happened.
However asked yesterday whether, notwithstanding Mohammed’s removal, there was still a valid issue of racial imbalance to be dealt with, PSC members Kenneth Parker and Martin George argued that there was an issue that would have to be dealt with but at the appropriate time.
“That is an issue which we are not prepared to discuss at this time,” Parker told members of the media. “This is something that we are all very aware of and we would treat that matter in due course.”
George, on the same issue, noted that, “these are issues which will always be important to any society and we must never shrink from dealing with issues simply because they are thorny or difficult.” At the same time, George argued that the issue comes down to one of the proper remit of the PSC, which is the watchdog body over the Police Service.
“We must be guided by our remit,” he said. “And I think that is where we were forced to path ways with our chairman.”
At the same time, the three members extended an “olive branch” to Mohammed.
“We have continued to extend an olive branch of peace, friendship and harmony to our former chairman and do so still and we wish only the very best for him in his future endeavours,” George said.
While under Section 122 of the Constitution there is no properly constituted PSC without a chairman, the three members yesterday indicated that they have powers to continue to function. In addition to yesterday’s press conference, this week’s activities are to also include a planned meeting on Thursday where the issue of Mohammed’s removal is due to be noted.
“We will be able to continue with the work of the commission,” George argued. He said three members would make a quorum.
The appointed PSC members who attended yesterday’s press briefing were: Jacqueline Cheesman, George and Parker. The fourth member, Addison Khan, was notably absent. The PSC members present attempted to downplay the perception of division with the PSC, especially so in the wake of Mohammed’s removal. “There was never any division,” Parker said.
George: We should have facts
…before going to CoP on ‘ethnic imbalance’
April 6, 2011 – trinidadexpress.com
Police Service Commission member Martin George had warned commission members against raising the issue of the ethnic imbalance without studying the matter with proper documented material and coming to a common position.
George gave his thoughts in an e-mail titled “Meeting notes for PSC, February 3, 2011″. The e-mail, which was sent to all members—Nizam Mohammed, Addison Khan, Jacqueline Cheesman and Kenneth Parker—was given to members of the media at the news conference held by the three commissioners on Monday at the Courtyard Marriott in Mucurapo.
George said he saw the commission had the question of ethnic imbalance in the Police Service as an agenda item to raise with the Commissioner of Police today.
“I would like, before we seek to raise this, that we have some proper information on this issue because I hate going in blind on these situations. This comes back to the question of the secretariat and the support services. If we are to be seen as a serious body, then we are supposed to have the figures, the statistics and the reports; where are the official studies done which show the extent of this ‘ethnic balance’? What are the causative factors and the reasons therefore? How does it affect the service, if at all? Does it lower morale, productivity or efficiency? Does it lend itself to a less effective Police Service?” George wrote in the e-mail.
George noted it was Israel Khan SC “who in his defence of the chairman” on this issue (the call by Fixin TnT for President George Maxwell Richards to revoke Mohammed’s appointment), had also raised the question of ethnic imbalance in the Police Service.
“We have to be reminded after all of our mandate and our remit. Ours is not an experiment in social engineering or affirmative action. Ours is clearly to monitor and manage the efficiency, performance and effectiveness of the Commissioner of Police and Deputy Commissioner of Police in their manage- ment and administration of the Police Service,” George said.
He added: “If there is some report showing that there is ethnic imbalance in the Police Service and that this is affecting the management, performance and effectiveness of the Police Service, then we should have this and have a chance to study this beforehand, prior to going into a meeting and raising this with the CoP.”
George noted CoP Dwayne Gibbs was from a culture that is driven by reports, statistics and analyses, based upon research and clinically presented data.
“I would strongly suggest we spare ourselves this embarrassment by having proper documented material which we as a body can study first and come to a common position before we present a case to the CoP on this,” he said.
STORY BY: TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO NEWS BLOG