Former PSC chair, member say need for clarity in selection of Commissioner
The former head of the Police Service Commission, Professor Ramesh Deosaran says the injunction to delay the appointment of a Police Commissioner by way of a High Court order can be useful in bringing clarity to the selection process.
Deosaran was weighing in yesterday after Justice Nadia Kangaloo granted an interim injunction to former head of the Police Social and Welfare Association acting Senior Supt Anand Ramesar to block the Police Service Commission (PSC) from appointing a new Commissioner.
Ramesar brought a legal challenge against the Commission for not including him in the interview process.
Yesterday, Deosaran said there was widespread public confusion over the appointment process.
“We need to clarify those things, we cannot be day to day quarrelling to ourselves without a clear understanding of what is happening. Once the court makes its ruling, that will produce a clearer basis on which discussions can take place,” Deosaran said.
However, he said it was unfortunate to have the PSC “paralysed” by the injunction and unable to proceed with the appointment with the urgency it requires.
Deosaran said there have also been questions raised about whether outside forces were influencing the selection process.
“Is there anything behind the scene happening that is interfering with the appointment process? and that’s the question that would likely arise, hopefully so, with the Ramesar case.”
Former PSC member, attorney Martin George said this injunction can have far-reaching ripple effects, as it delays an already “drawn-out” process.
George said the selection process has been mired in controversy.
“Public confidence has already been plummeting in the Police Service Commission and the way this entire exercise has been managed thus far,” George said.
He said it may not be the fault of the PSC, as they were constrained by the legislation that governs them.
“At the end of the day you have to consider how does the public view and perceive what is turning out to be a circus and a comedy of errors,” George said.
Attorney challenges PSC
Meanwhile, attorney Dave Persad has written to the Police Service Commission (PSC) questioning the appointment of Gary Griffith as acting Police Commissioner.
Persad, in a letter dated August 26, challenged the PSC saying Griffith’s appointment was “illegal, null and void and of no effect.”
Persad said according to the law, the PSC has a duty to nominate persons, whether to hold or act as the Commissioner of Police and having done so, to submit a list of the nominees to the President, Paula Mae Weekes.
In response on September 6, the Service Commissions Department told Persad “The Commission wishes to inform you that relation to the captioned appointment, the list required by paragraph 4 of Legal Notice No 183 of 2021 was submitted to her Excellency before the acting appointment was made.”
The Commission said it did not agree with Persad’s opinion that Griffith’s appointment was null and void.
On September 10, Persad wrote again to the Director of Personnel Administration of the Service Commissions Department, stating that while the Commission has the power to appoint under Section 123 (1) (a), they cannot exercise that power without the permission of the House of Representatives.
Persad has asked the Commission to respond in seven days or seek the Court’s aid in determining the correct position.
Persad has also sent his letters to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, the President, Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Law Association president Sophia Chote SC and Police Social and Welfare Association president inspector Gideon Dickson.
By: Sharlene Rampersad