Sacked chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC) Nizam Mohammed says he is a victim of breach of natural justice and process.Mohammed made the statement in a brief interview last night, hours after President George Maxwell Richards revoked his appointment as chairman of the commission.Mohammed added the President must explain why his appointment was revoked. He insisted he did nothing wrong and breached no law.Richards revoked the appointment on the grounds that Mohammed failed to perform his duties in a responsible or timely manner and demonstrated a lack of competence.The revocation of Mohammed's appointment took effect immediately.In a TV6 interview last night, Mohammed claimed he was a "victim of racist journalists and was painted as a racist."
He said: "This has started by racist journalists. They made me the culprit and putting me into a corner now as if I am the racist. "I am sorry for T&T and the victims of crimes and sorry for the many African police officers and the many Indian officers who feel they don't have a fair break while working in the Police Service."Mohammed said he had met with the President on Friday and asked for time on a legal opinion."Tell me what is wrong. No one is answering or providing those answers. I am surprised the President acted so swiftly, We only met Friday and I asked him for time."We were seeking a legal opinion on the matters he had raised...and today out of the blue I got this." Mohammed said.Richards said Mohammed's appointment was revoked under Section 122A (1) (d) and (f) of the Constitution (Amendment) Act 2006.Section 122A (1) says: "The President shall, after consultation with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, terminate the appointment of a member of the Police Service Commission, if the member:
(d) fails to perform his duties in a responsible or timely manner; and,
(f) demonstrates a lack of competence to perform his duties.
Mohammed angered large sections of the national community, including Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley and police officers, when he told a Joint Select Committee on March 25 there was an ethnic imbalance in the Police Service.He said then that the population comprised 50 percent East Indians and that was not reflective in the hierarchy of the Police Service. He said he would work with the Parliament to address that matter.
The PM said Mohammed's comments were "reckless and divisive" and did not represent the views of the People's Partnership Government.Rowley said Mohammed's conduct in public office left a lot to be desired and he should resign.Mohammed maintained his innocence until Friday after meeting with President Richards."I have done no wrong," he insisted then.Yesterday he declined comment when contacted for comment shortly after his revocation was made public.He said he had other matters occupying his attention and was unable to comment on the revocation of his appointment.
Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar said the President terminated Mohammed's appointment according to the law."The President has now acted in accordance with the Constitution and I respect the decision of the President," she added.Rowley, in his response, said the entire matter could have been avoided if the Government had heeded his call not to appoint Mohammed because he was "still an active politician."Rowley said Mohammed's "reckless and divisive statement confirmed he was not the man for the job. Sorry to say we were right on this issue."
He said he was disappointed that Mohammed opted to be defiant and not resign in the face of public condemnation.Rowley said Mohammed should have accepted that it would not have been possible for him to function as chairman of the PSC."The schism between him and his other commissioners over this very serious and sensitive matter made it untenable for him to remain as chairman of that body," Rowley said.He said Mohammed should have resigned and saved the President and the Prime Minister for the public embarrassment he caused.
"Had the President not acted it would have sent a signal that the presidency of T&T is useless," Rowley said.He later filed a motion for debate in Parliament later this month. The motion calls on the House to condemn Mohammed reckless and divisive statement.Rowley insisted yesterday despite the fact that Mohammed's appointment was revoked it did not clear the issue.He added: "The people's representatives in the Parliament need to properly debate this matter so the public can be further informed about the fact of the situation and bring clarity to the President's actions."He said he expected the co-operation of the Government to have the motion debated on April 20.
Mohammed was appointed chairman of the PSC on July 21, 2010, for a three-year period.Other members appointed by then acting President Timothy Hamel-Smith, were Martin George, Jacqueline Cheesman, Kenneth Parker and Addison Khan.At a news conference yesterday, commissioners Cheesman, George and Parker distanced themselves from the recent comments by Mohammed.Addison was not present at the news conference, which was held at the Marriott Hotel, Port-of-Spain.The three said the commission had a lot of work to do and a meeting is scheduled for Thursday.They said President Richards had the authority to choose a new chairman. George said the commission could meet with a quorum of three.