DISPUTED PSC PICKS IN FOCUS
Despite strong objection from former public service head Reginald Dumas, and threats by him to take action, the House of Representatives will tomorrow seek to approve four nominations by President Anthony Carmona for membership in the Police Service Commission (PSC). Dumas is objecting to the nominations of Dr James Armstrong and Roamar Achat-Saney on the ground that they are not qualified for the positions. He charged that Carmona made the nominations “per incuriam,” without care.
“Should these nominations be approved by affirmative resolution of the House of Representatives, my client will take such steps as he may be advised to ensure compliance with section 122 (3) of the Constitution,” Karl Hudson-Phillips QC, acting on behalf of Dumas, warned Attorney General Anand Ramlogan in a September 26 letter. Dumas has endorsed the nominations of attorneys Martin Anthony George and Addison Masefield Khan, whose previous membership of the PSC expired in July.
“Both Mr Martin George and Mr Addison Khan are qualified attorneys-at-law and practitioners of long standing,” the letter said. Hudson-Phillips, in his letter, said Dumas had serious concerns and reservations as a citizen that the nominations of Armstrong and Achat-Saney did not comply with the letter and spirit of the requirements of section 122 (3) of the Constitution.
“A proper reading of the relevant provisions indicates that nominees must be in a position to show they are both qualified and experienced in one of the prescribed discrete disciplines of law, finance, sociology or management. “Qualification alone in a particular discipline will not be sufficient unless it is reinforced by experience. In addition, experience in one of the disciplines without being qualified in it will not satisfy the requirement.
“I am instructed that the curricula vitae of both Dr James Kenneth Armstrong and Mrs Roamar Achat-Saney demonstrate that they do not satisfy the requirement of section 122(3) of the Constitution and are therefore not eligible for appointment as members of the Police Service Commission. “Their failure to meet these requirements must not be construed as an indication that they do not possess qualifications which may be eminently suited for service elsewhere.”
Hudson-Phillips said Armstrong’s curriculum vitae showed he was a development planner. “He is highly qualified in urban and regional planning, environmental design and architectural/Int-Design. “However, there does not appear to be any evidence that the impressive scholastic record of Dr Armstrong includes his being qualified and experienced in either of the required disciplines of law, finance, sociology or management.”
Hudson-Phillips said Achat-Saney was, until 2011, principal of the Fyzabad Secondary School. “She obtained the Legal Education Certificate on the 7th September 2012 and was called to the Bar on the 15th November 2012, less than one year ago. “Practice of the law for less than one year cannot, on the most generous of assessments, be described as her being experienced in the law.
“Her curriculum vitae indicates that in 2004 she obtained an executive diploma in school management and leadership while serving as principal II at the Fyzabad Secondary School. “This no doubt was of assistance to her in the execution of her duties as a principal. “Inquiries at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business, the successor institution to the Institute of Business at which it is claimed the diploma was received, reveal that no course is now offered in that subject.
“The particular diploma is not a qualification in the discrete discipline of management, however useful it might have been in the execution of the duties as principal. “I am therefore instructed by my client that the nominations of Dr James Kenneth Armstrong and Mrs Roamar Achat-Saney were made per incuriam by His Excellency the President.”
Extracted From: Trinidad Guardian Newspaper