Last update: 12-Dec-2013 4:50 am
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Government going ahead with new PSC picks
Let the debate on the appointment of former Independent senator Dr James Armstrong and attorney Roamar Achat-Saney as members of the Police Service Commission (PSC) begin. That’s the position of leader of government business in the House of Representatives, Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal, in the wake of concerns expressed by former head of the Public Service, Reginald Dumas, about the qualifications of the two for the jobs.
Dumas said the Constitution says PSC commissioners must be “qualified and experienced in the disciplines of law, finance, sociology or management.” He said while Achat-Saney was an attorney, there are already two lawyers on the PSC—Addison Khan and Martin George. Chairman of the PSC Professor Ramesh Deosaran is a sociologist. Armstrong is a development planner, has a first degree in environmental design, a master’s in urban and regional planning and a PhD in developmental planning.
Dumas said none of the new nominees of the President appear to be experts in finance or management. But Moonilal said the Government did not see any problem with the President’s nominees. “We will proceed. I have been in contact with His Excellency and we believe that the constitutional requirements have been met,” Moonilal told the Guardian yesterday. Questioned further, he said debate on the matter will take place during the next sitting of the House. No date has been announced for that sitting, however.
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, in a separate interview yesterday, said he had not seen the CV of Armstrong “to assess the scope and breath of experience and qualifications to determine whether he has met the constitutional criteria.” Ramlogan said, however, that he was aware Armstrong had a “distinguished and enviable record of public service that straddles several areas and disciplines.”
The AG said: “If there is ground for concern, I have no doubt that His Excellency can in fact revoke his nominations, as there is no appointment until Parliament gives its approval.” He said the matter was in the “twilight zone between the Office of the President and the Parliament approving the proposed nominations.” Ramlogan said, however, that the President was “normally quite meticulous in these matters.”
But Dumas insisted yesterday that the “primary responsibility has to be borne by the President, because it is he who put the names finally to Parliament.” “The President should be more vigilant in the execution of these matters,” Dumas told the Guardian, adding that only people skilled and experienced in finance and management should be nominated for the final two PSC positions.
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