Dismissed chairman of the Police Service Commission, Nizam Mohammed is seeking to mount an unprecedented legal challenge against President George Maxwell Richards' decision to terminate his appointment.Mohammed, in a telephone interview yesterday, said he would advise his attorneys to review the Constitution to determine if there was any possibility of challenging the President's decision.Told that under the existing Constitution the actions of the President could not be challenged in a court of law, Mohammed responded: "That is the area of the law that we would be looking at."I do not believe that anyone, including the President, is above the Constitution and can act in a manner that is detrimental to any individual," he added.Richards dismissed Mohammed as PSC chairman on Monday on the grounds that he failed to perform his duties in a responsible and timely manner and demonstrated a lack of competence.
This followed Mohammed's promise to work to address an alleged ethnic imbalance in the Police Service.He renewed his public call yesterday for President Richards to explain the reasons why he was fired."I continue to make a call publicly while my lawyers are looking at the matter," he added. Mohammed, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, said his "fundamental rights under the Constitution have been breached and the President acted in such a manner that he did not follow due process."He said he was baffled "by the undue haste under which the President acted and that has me totally amazed."Asked if he had any regrets about the entire issue, he said: "Absolutely none, my conscience is clear, absolutely none!"Mohammed said he remained concerned about the issue, which was "the fight for equality amongst all our people."He said he was "about to do my little bit within the Police Service and they fired me for doing that.
"They fired me for trying to give everybody equal opportunities within the Police Service, regardless of their ethnic origin," he added.Told that the other commissioners had said that was not part of his remit, Mohammed said he did not agree with that position."I wasn't put there to be a clerical officer...I was put there to reorganise the Police Service so that it will become efficient and effective in protecting members of the public against the scourge of crime that we are witnessing," he said. Told that there had been claims of ethnic imbalance in other professions as well, Mohammed quickly responded, saying he was "not concerned about those."My responsibility was to look at the Police Service...Let the politicians, or whoever, look at the other areas," he said.Mohammed said the other commissioners should have resigned."I think all of them should have gone as well and give the Police Service a better chance...By undermining me while I was there, they have all tarnished themselves," he said.Without calling names, Mohammed said one commission member missed most of the meetings and he was still on the job."We had one member who attended about four out of about 20 meetings, and it appears that the President intends to do nothing about that," he said.
Mohammed said the law provided for a member to be dismissed if he missed four consecutive meetings without a reasonable excuse.He said the unnamed commissioner "is now having the protection of his two cohorts in that regard."Mohammed said he was expected to take legal action against the newspapers which published misleading headlines after the March 25 meeting, which he said caused confusion in the country.He said the Hansard report of his remarks at the meeting was not discussed during his meeting with President Richards last week.
What the constitution says
A legal source cited Section 38 (1) of the T&T Constitution, which said: Subject to Section 36, the President shall not be answerable to any court for the performance of the functions of his office for any act done by him in the performance of those functions.