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Rowley on removal of top cops: Warner setting stage for discord and destruction
Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley said he would not be surprised if Police Commissioner, Dwayne Gibbs’ and his deputy Jack Ewatski’s contracts were terminated before they expired. Rowley was commenting on a Sunday Guardian’s story suggesting that Gibbs and Ewatski’s contracts would be terminated. On Friday, the contracts and performances of the top cops were discussed at a meeting which included Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
Rowley, speaking at a news conference at Balisier House yesterday, said the termination of the contracts should be a matter for the Police Service Commission and not for any member of the Government. He said there should be no interference by National Security Minister Jack Warner to have the men removed.
“There is no position in the law for the minister to act in the way that he is acting...that independent action that he is looking to claim is dangerous and detrimental to our well-being and sets the groundwork for ongoing conflict,” Rowley said. “That is why we are asking the Government to observe the law...We are asking the Prime Minister to rein in her ministers.
“The minute you begin to have these kinds of development with the office of the police and the office of the politicians, you begin to set the pathway for discord and that could end in destruction...T&T is not immune to the outcome of these pathways and it is not too early to take the corrective action.” Gibbs is paid a monthly salary of $108,992 ($1,307,900 a year), while Ewatski receives $104,000 a month ($1,248,000 annually).
On another issue, Rowley condemned statements by T&T’s Ambassador to Geneva, Therese Baptiste-Cornelis, saying she embarrassed T&T. He said Baptiste-Cornelius statements are a reflection of “bad appointments” made by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
Rowley said he was shocked by the ambassador’s remarks: “My jaw dropped. I knew that the Prime Minister of T&T has made a career of making bad appointments, but this one is in a class by itself. The woman is an embarrassment. “I think if the Prime Minister has not seen it by now, somebody needs to draw it to her attention, if by this evening the Prime Minister has not taken steps to move that woman and prevent her from embarrassing the people of T&T, then the Prime Minister is fully accused of... being to the detriment of the people of T&T. I have never in my life seen any person acting on behalf of their country or on their own behalf...to so embarrass the people,” he said.
“It is my view that this development with this ambassador symbolises/encapsulates anything that is bad and wrong with this UNC coalition. I saw her present herself as a graduate of UWI. Now I have three degrees from UWI. UWI has produced a number of outstanding citizens and for us to be so presented to the world, that video has done harm to the UWI brand...I invite the national population to view it and come to their own conclusion.”
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