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Independent or dependent PSC?
The decision by the Police Service Commission to extend the acting appointment of the Commissioner of Police, Stephen Williams, for a further six months is a disappointing outcome to a process that the commission ought to have engaged a long time ago to ensure that there would be stability in the appointment of a commissioner.
On July 31, 2012, the T&T Guardian reported that “Canadian-born T&T Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs and his compatriot Deputy Commissioner Jack Ewatski have resigned with more than a year of their three-year contracts remaining. Their resignation letters were dated July 26, 2012, and they take effect on August 7.
The Police Service Commission is to appoint an acting Commissioner of Police and acting Deputy Commissioner of Police. Sources say current Deputy Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams will act as Police Commissioner.” After 18 months, the PSC is still granting extensions to acting CoP Williams instead of moving with dispatch to engage the issue, having regard to the crime problem that the country faces.
The unceremonious departure of Messrs Gibbs and Ewatski was portrayed as a solution to the crime problem in many quarters. At the time, the new Minister of National Security, Jack Warner, seemed to convey to the public that the 21st-century policing programme that CoP Gibbs and DCP Ewatski were piloting was inadequate. The impression was created that with a native-born Commissioner, the country would have the solution to its crime problems.