President George Maxwell Richards must provide the country with legitimate reasons why former chairman of the Police Service Commission Nizam Mohammed was fired. The call was made by former prime minister Basdeo Panday on Wednesday. He was speaking during a forum titled Equality and Diversity in T&T, hosted by the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies at the Department of Engineering, University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine. Panday said he had read the transcript of the Hansard report of what Mohammed had said before the Joint Select Committee of Parliament and it did not contain a single word about there being too many Africans in the Police Service.
"Up to this day, the President has not given reasons for dismissing Mohammed...The reason is that there was none," he said. "Nizam was fired for raising the issue of race and no other reason. It's not what he said, it's the way he said it. They were all looking for an excuse not to support Nizam or for justification to punish him for daring to raise this issue."The President revoked Mohammed's appointment on April 14, after comments made by the former chairman at a meeting of Parliament's Joint Select Committee, that there was an ethnic imbalance in the hierarchy of the Police Service and he was committed to changing that situation. President of the Downtown Owners and Merchants Association (Doma), Gregory Aboud, who also spoke at the seminar, agreed with Panday that an explanation must be provided on specific reasons for Mohammed's dismissal.
"The President needs to explain why Mohammed was dismissed," Aboud said. "I feel very strongly about that...There must be total transparency." Senior Counsel Israel Khan, in his contribution, gave his personal view that there was an ethnic imbalance in the armed forces which he described as being "dangerous" for the country. "I am concerned with the armed forces," he said. "I do not know the reasons why the Police Service has so little East Indians...maybe they do not meet the criteria. "Whatever the reasons, it is important that the Police Service Commission launch an inquiry. "What happened in Rwanda, Fiji, Uganda can happen here. "It is dangerous in a plural society to have one ethnic group control the arms and ammunition, be it East Indians or Africans."