Mc Donald Jacob the civilian?
WITHOUT the Cabinet extending his contract for another year, acting Commissioner of Police Mc Donald Jacob will no longer be a member of the police service, with one year remaining on his contract.
According to Section 75 of the Police Service Act, a first division officer retires at age 60 and can, on the approval of the President, be granted three one-year extensions.
Jacob had his first extension last year, and without another will have no choice but to call it a day after 43 years of service.
Newsday contacted the Office of the President on Friday afternoon and was told that last year National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds sought to have the President extend Jacob’s time.
The President’s office said Cabinet is able to do so as was done in 2007, and there is no cause to deviate from set precedence. The Cabinet then, decided, according to the Office of the President, to extend Jacob’s term for one year.
Jacob was appointed DCP in April 2021. The position is a three year contracted post. Jacob was 59 when he was appointed DCP and turned 60 in January last year.
“The term was subsequently extended by a Legal Notice dated January 18, 2022, and signed by the Secretary to the Cabinet. Notwithstanding words in the order ‘made by the President’ such orders emanate from Cabinet,” the President’s Office said.
Newsday was told that Jacob is expected to seek legal redress if his term as DCP is cut short because of Cabinet’s inaction. Legal sources said he will be claiming for the remaining 15 months on his contract as DCP.
Cabinet members, who did not want to be identified, told Newsday that as of Friday afternoon, no decision was made to extend Jacob’s tenure for another year.
Calls to National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds went mostly unanswered. He answered once, however technical difficulties cut the call short and he has been unreachable since. The Prime Minister did not respond when called, while Attorney General Reginald Armour said he could not speak on issues before Cabinet.
Former member of the Police Service Commission attorney Martin George said it is not possible for the Cabinet to retroactively extend Jacob’s time. He said he could not see how Cabinet could make the extension valid after the first-year extension lapses.
“Once you’re past that age and you are out of the service, then you are no longer under the jurisdiction and authority of the police service. There are quite a few pieces of legislation and authorities that deal with that very point, even within the public service.
“Once you cross that retirement age and there has been no extension given to you, then you are effectively out of that service. So, therefore, in those circumstances, there can be no retroactive conferral of that authority on you.”
George added that Jacob, who also applied for the top cop position, can only legally serve two of the three years of the contract, if selected, as serving members of the police service’s first division cannot work past the age of 63 according to the Police Service Act.
Jacob was acting as the top cop until he went on vacation in December for 35 days. In his place, acting DCP Erla Christopher was appointed. Christopher faces a similar position as she turns 60 in May and will need Cabinet’s approval to remain in the service beyond that…
BY: JENSEN LA VENDE