There are many positive elements that have come out of the imbroglio surrounding the statements made by former chairman of the Police Service Commission, Nizam Mohammed, who was fired on Monday for failing to perform his duties in a responsible or timely fashion and for demonstrating a lack of competence to perform his duties.Firstly, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar must be commended for her strong and definitive condemnation of the potentially divisive statements made by Mr Mohammed.
The Prime Minister's comments, which came in a statement on the fourth day of the controversy, were in keeping with the spirit of unity which led to her resounding victory in the May 24, 2010 general election.The statement from the Office of the Prime Minister, said: "The Government of Trinidad and Tobago categorically condemns the statements made by Mr Nizam Mohammed, the Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC) regarding the allegations of discrimination and the need for ethnic balancing within the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.
The five leaders that formed the political grouping that brought this Government to power is the broadest-based representation ever held in this nation and the insularity propagated by Mr Mohammed's reckless and senseless comments run against the very grain of the philosophy that now governs this country."Instead of recognising his own intemperate behaviour-the absence in his statement of any semblance of balance, his failure to articulate a rationale for the imbalance in the police service executive-Mr Mohammed blamed others and ascribed base motives to them.
It is very interesting that while Mr Mohammed has sought to blame reporters for the unfolding of the controversy, he has steered clear of ascribing motives to the Prime Minister who issued a very strong and early condemnation of his statement and the manner of his making of it.It is also worthy of note that Mr Mohammed did not attach base motives to President Max Richards who delivered Monday's final judgment on his statement to the Joint Select Committee of the Parliament.This must be testament to the fact that both the Prime Minister and the President acted with maturity and wisdom in treating with this matter.
Both are to be commended.One would have to assume that both the Prime Minister and the President would have heard and even read the unedited version of the statement made by the former chairman of the Police Service Commission and would not come to their determination merely on the basis of what was reported in the media.Moreover, in the case of the President, His Excellency had the benefit of having a one-on-one conversation with Mohammed and heard first-hand his defence of the statement.
If logic were to prevail, it would be expected that Mr Mohammed would have to come to the same conclusion that he was the victim of racist interpretations of his statement by both the Prime Minister and the President.The former Speaker of the House of Representatives also chose to make himself a victim of unnamed Cabinet members, presumably those who said he should have been relieved of his position because of his wild outbursts.
In Mohammed and undoubtedly others who learnt their politics under Basdeo Panday, the culture and political style of the founder of the UNC are alive, if not well. There were indeed those within the Government who did not condemn Mohammed's tirade at the hearing of the JSC, but with the Prime Minister having spoken, they have to be prepared for the moment to submerge their feelings knowing that they run the risk of being censored, or worse, by the Prime Minister.