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Warner: Process to select CoP most oppressive
Three top members of the Defence Force were yesterday elevated to higher positions and National Security Minister Jack Warner criticised the criteria for appointing a police commissioner, describing them as “most oppressive.” Warner made the announcement at a media appreciation function held at the Hyatt Regency in Port-of-Spain.
From February 1, Brig Kenrick Maharaj will hold the rank of major general, Commanding Officer Anthony Phillips-Spencer will be Vice-Chief of Defence Staff and Col Rodney Smart will assume the position of head of the T&T Regiment. For the selection process for a police commissioner to be effective Warner said, the changes must first be made in Parliament.
He said he had already spoken to Attorney General Anand Ramlogan to determine how best the law could be amended. “What do you tell a man, that every six months he has to act? And if we continue to go along the road we are going, it would take at least two years before the process is completed.” Warner said the promotions of Maharaj, Phillips-Spencer and Smart were long overdue.
Stephen Williams, who was a deputy police commissioner, was made acting police commissioner when Canadians Dwayne Gibbs and Jack Ewatski resigned. They were commissioner and deputy commissioner respectively. Williams was appointed to act on August 7, 2012, and was given a six-month extension by the Police Service Commission on Thursday.
At a media conference last year, the commission’s chairman, Prof Ramesh Deosaran, said the commission was in “wonderland” over the time frame for the appointment of a substantive commissioner, and the selection process was a “tangled web.” Warner agreed that the process was ineffective. “Mr Williams, the extension may give you some comfort, but it doesn’t give me any, because it is the most oppressive system of appointment I have seen anywhere,” he said.
“This is wrong, it is unpardonable. It should never have happened. There is nowhere is the world where a commissioner of police has to go through this torture of appointment.” Warner gave a personal undertaking to ensure the process was not unnecessarily delayed.
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