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Friday, April 25, 2014
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Questions over Richardson’s new job
The appointment of recently-retired deputy police commissioner Mervyn Richardson as the head of the Rapid Response Unit seems to have raised more questions than answers. The People’s National Movement and the Police Service Social and Welfare Association have called on National Security Minister Gary Griffith to “clear the air” over Richardson’s new post. The issue was raised extensively by Sunday Guardian columnist Maxie Cuffie, who put forward a series of questions on the topic.
“My first question is when exactly was the job offer made? Did Richardson, then deputy commissioner (Crime and Operations) in charge of the E-mailgate investigation in which Griffith (then National Security adviser) is a person of interest, meet with Griffith as the police officer with responsibility for the unit? “Should that meeting not have been between the Police Commissioner and the then National Security minister, Emmanuel George?” Cuffie wrote on Sunday.
The PNM’s public relations officer Faris Al-Rawi yesterday said he believed the issue would grab the attention of the Integrity Commission. “One expects that the Integrity Commission will no doubt be intrigued by the questions raised by Mr Cuffie as well as the answers or lack of answers which will no doubt follow,” Al-Rawi said.
The police association’s president, acting Insp Anand Ramesar, who also expressed concern, said he was expected to meet with Griffith this week and high on the agenda would be Richardson’s new job and the circumstances surrounding the appointment. Saying Richardson’s retention has raised “some red flags,” Ramesar added: “This was also done without consultation with the association. “In fact, many first division officers have communicated to the association and maintained a position that his retention was not required.”
Ramesar said since Richardson was now a civilian he would be either be commanding or administering the operations, which should instead be done by a police officer. In a brief interview yesterday Griffith said he prefered not to comment on the issue until Richardson’s contract, his role and functions in the unit were finalised. However, he rated Richardson as a top performer while in the Police Service with over 40 years experience. Contacted yesterday, Richardson said he could not comment, as he had not seen or read the column.
Calls to the cellphone of acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams went unanswered yesterday.
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