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Gary leads three finalists for CoP post

Published: 
Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Former national security minister Gary Griffith.

The Police Service Commission has narrowed the search for T&T’s next Police Commissioner and out of 20 applicants, three finalists have been chosen, among them former National Security Minister Gary Griffith.

A source, who requested anonymity, said Griffith has been ranking at the top of the list along with president of the Police Social and Welfare Association Michael Seales. However, it will be up to Parliament to approve Griffith as the commissioner

The source also said acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams, retired deputy commissioner Glen Hackett and secretary of the Association Anand Ramesar scored lower on the list.

“There have been some reluctance by the Police Service Commission (PSC) to have Williams continue in his role having received 11 six month extensions for the post he occupied since 2012. Not many people believe that the current Commissioner has been successful in reducing crime so it is unlikely that he will be chosen,” the source added.

With Griffith having a good chance of becoming top cop, First Division police officers have been questioning whether he will get the respect from the lower ranks as a civilian commissioner.

But Senior Supt of the South Western Division Inraj Balram, who is currently on leave, said this was not so. “I will support anyone who is appointed by the relevant authorities to be the Commissioner. I think whoever is appointed will be supported and police officers will all rally around him,” Balram said.

Criminologist Professor Ramesh Deosaran, in an interview yesterday, said the new commissioner “should have the integrity, experience, professional judgment and courage to not only to manage the TTPS but to also implement the range of critical reform which are urgently required.”

Last year, Deosaran’s Police Service Manpower Audit Committee (MAC) rejected the idea of any civilian ever becoming police commissioner

However, Deosaran said regardless of whoever the PSC chooses “there was a need for effective disciplinary procedures in the TTPS, improvement of the promotion system in terms of fairness and expeditiousness as well as abuse of sick, vacation and study leave.”

“I am aware that the Government is moving as quick as it could to bring the MAC recommendations to effective and expeditious implementation. Whatever comes out of the Commission’s deliberations, those are what the public anxiously expects now,” Deosaran added.

The PSC is headed by chairman Dr Maria Therese-Gomes and includes as members Martin Anthony George and Dinanath Ramkissoon.

Contacted yesterday George said he could not give any information on who are the finalists for post of police commissioner. He declined to answer other questions about the tedious process of selection.

Contacted for comment, Griffith said it would be improper for him to comment at this time. Seales also declined comment.

Griffith served as minister under the People’s Partnership but was fired by then Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar over his involvement in the witness-tampering investigations in which David West claimed Anand Ramlogan asked him to withdraw his witness statement in a defamation case brought by Ramlogan against then Opposition leader Keith Rowley in exchange for the PCA post. Griffith was named as a volunteer witness in the issue.

LIST OF T&T’S COMMISSIONERS OF POLICE

• 1931-1938 Col A.S Mavrogodato
• 1938-1948 Col WA Muller
• 1949-1962 Col. EHF Beaden
• 1962-1966 George Thomas W. Carr
• 1966-1970 James P. Reid
• 1970-1973 Francis Eustace Bernard
• 1973-1973 Claud A. May
• 1978-1987 Randolph U. Burroughs
• 1987-1990 Louis Jim Rodriguez
• 1990-1996 Jules Bernard
• 1996-1998 Noor K. Mohammed
• 1998-2003 Hilton Guy
• 2003-2004 Everald Snaggs
• 2004-2007 Trevor Paul
• 2007–2010 James Philbert (Ag)
• 2010-2012 Dwayne Gibbs
• 2012-present Stephen Williams (Ag)

PROCEDURE TO SELECT COMMISSIONER

Appointment of a Commissioner of Police lies exclusively with the (PSC). Section 123 (1) of the Constitution states the PSC is empowered to appoint the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioners of Police through a selective process determined by Parliament.

The PSC took out advertisements in September last year. Candidates went through a rigorous assessment process conducted by a firm. The name of the highest graded candidate will be submitted by the PSC to the President who will then forward that name to the Parliament. The candidate must first be approved by the Parliament, before an appointment can be made.

Based on the Appointment of a Commissioner of Police and Deputy Commissioner (Qualification and Selection Criteria) Order 2015, laid by Minister of National Security Edmund Dillon, nominees must be nationals of T&T and have a degree from a recognised university in the field of law, criminal justice, criminology, police service management or other relevant degree. It says the candidate for CoP must have at least 15 years service of increasing responsibility in law enforcement and the candidates for deputy commissioner must have ten years service in the same area.

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