President George Maxwell Richards yesterday revoked the appointment of chairman of the Police Service Commission, Nizam Mohammed, citing Section 122A (1) (d) and (f) of the Constitution (Amendment) Act 2006.Section 122A (1) states: "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's remarks were condemned by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar as reckless and irresponsible."Members of the Government, Opposition, the Police Service and other national organisations publicly called for Mohammed's removal.Following are the comments from prominent members of the public:
Basdeo Panday,former prime minister
Nizam Mohammed's dismissal will further the consciousness of racism existing in T&T.Mohammed's dismissal would not do anything to lessen the awareness of ethnic imbalances within the Police Service and other sectors in T&T.In my opinion Mohammed's position was revoked due to political pressure placed on the Government.The Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar must come forward and explain to the public why Mohammed's position was revoked.A similar statement must come from the President.
Sat Maharajsecretary general of the Maha Sabha
There is no justification behind the dismissal of Nizam Mohammed from his position as chairman of the PSC.Mohammed "was only speaking the truth," and there was no true justification for his dismissal.The President acted on public and political opinion rather than appropriately dealing with the matter of ethnic imbalances in the Police Service.
Dr Amery Browne,Opposition MP
Nizam Mohammed's position should have been revoked in July of last year when he failed to comply with lawful instructions after a traffic violation.Mohammed's dismissal was an "example of the President fulfilling his responsibility and taking decisive action in the best interest of the citizens of T&T.
Dana Seetahal.senior counsel:
The President made the right decision by revoking Nizam Mohammed's position as he had proved himself incompetent of holding such a high-ranking position.Mohammed did not understand his remit and his statements showed his incompetence to head the PSC.His statements were void of cultural and social analyses and had the potential to cause a severe division within the Police Service.It was irresponsible to suggest one's race determined one's place in the hierarchy of the Police Service.His statements went against the grain of the history of the Police Service.
Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj,former attorney general
President George Maxwell Richards had no alternative but to take action against Nizam Mohammed.The President acted well within the constitution in removing Mohammed on the basis of his incompetence to hold such a position.Mohammed's statements were made on his own "personal findings" and could have created "disaffection between races in T&T."
Dr Hamid Ghany,senior lecturer in government at the University of the West Indies' St AugustineCampus
The revocation of Nizam Mohammed's position as chairman of the Police Services Commission was necessary.The ramifications of Mohammed's statements would have caused considerable damage to ethnic relations within the Police Service.If Mohammed had remained chairman, any East Indian would have had their nomination for promotion reviewed "in a light of suspicion."Mohammed would have caused other members of the Police Service who were not of East Indian descent to feel threatened that they may not be treated fairly, based on the agenda he outlined to rectify ethnic imbalances in the service.
Israel Khan, senior counsel:
Nizam Mohammed was wrongly condemned.Mohammed became a suicide bomber being condemned not for what he said, but how he said it.Mohammed was within his rights to discuss ethnic imbalances within the Police Service.Mohammed's statements became intangible to the Government, Opposition and the Police Service itself, leading to his condemnation.I do not agree with Mohammed's position being revoked but understood it would be impossible for him to continue to work in the Police Service Commission.Despite my objections I respect the decision of the President.
Deputy Police Commissioner
The police need to remain focussed on the job they have to do.This includes providing safety to the public, apprehending criminals and solving crimes.