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Process of picking CoP too tedious, says Nizam
A former chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), attorney Nizam Mohammed, has called for a review of the selection process used to find a Commissioner of Police. He said because of the current length of the selection process it was too early to make a permanent appointment of a commissioner.
In a telephone interview with the T&T Guardian, Mohammed said he was not surprised a new CoP had not been chosen as yet, since the process was tedious. Ag CoP Stephen Williams’ appointment ends on January 31. Williams was appointed as acting commissioner for six months after Canadians Dwayne Gibbs and Jack Ewatski resigned last August as top cop and deputy commissioner respectively.
Mohammed offered two suggestions to improve the process. He wants to see an amendment to the law so that foreigners will not be eligible to apply for the position and secondly, he advocates the replacement of Penn State University, in Pennsylvania, United States, as the evaluation and selection body. He said Penn State should be replaced with a Caricom panel or one comprised of local experts.
Mohammed was in agreement that Williams' tenure should be extended because he said there was no other option. He said six months was too short a period to choose a new CoP using the current system. “I thought by now steps would have been taken to review the lengthy and arduous process. There is no doubt that the PSC will be addressing the matter in due course because it simply does not make sense,” he added.
Mohammed, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, added the time it took for advertising the position and for Penn State to release its merit list made difficult the selection of a new commissioner within the timeframe.
“Then law provides for the appointment of a contracted agency to go through this cumbersome selection process, and even though the PSC, through the director of personnel administration, may have commenced the exercise at the earliest given opportunity, a six-month period is too short,” Mohammed said.
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