Senior Counsel Martin Daly yesterday described some of President Paula-Mae Weekes’ language in her written statement pertaining to matters to the Police Service Commission (PSC) as vague.
“That is my problem with this, some of the language is opaque ...I would not say is deliberate. But some of it is opaque. But essentially, the President is telling us a merit list was delivered but withdrawn. My view is once it is delivered she did not have the option to decide that Parliament was not the appropriate forum,” Daly told Guardian Media in a telephone interview.
Daly said while he was thankful Weekes has seen it fit to accept the responsibility “to give us some information about what happened at President’s House...she is not clear anymore that it was August 12. It looks as though it might have been August 11. But it does not matter.”
The President confirmed in her statement published yesterday that the Order of Merit List in respect of the COP was delivered on August 11, 2021 to the Office of the President (OTP) “and withdrawn almost immediately thereafter that day. I, therefore, had no list from which a merit list could issue. To date, no other list has since been submitted,” the statement disclosed.
In giving an analysis of Weekes’ statement, Daly said he had a problem with its tone.
“To me, the essential flaw in this statement is that I do not believe that it was opened to the President to either participate or acquiesce in a withdrawal of the merit list that the then chair of the Police Service Commission had come to deliver. I do not believe that was open to as a matter of law. And it follows from that ...that I disagree that her actions or omissions did not violate the Constitution.”
Daly was one of several who called for answers involving the ongoing Police Service Commissioner imbroglio.
He said while Weekes made a lot of reference to the judgement of Justice Nadia Kangaloo who we owed a debt of gratitude to for the time frame in which she did the case and the thoroughness in which she expressed her views “whether there would be successful appeals is an entirely different matter. Justice Kangaloo was very clear that 123 (4) of the Constitution mandated the President to issue a merit list in respect of each person nominated to hold office and I think that is what she had to do.”
Daly said if other authorities had a problem with the people on the list, he said, “then the obvious thing to do was to raise that in Parliament” when it came before the House.
Yesterday, former commissioner Gary Griffith opted to keep silent with regards to comments made by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s statement on Saturday that he wrote the Police Service Commission in 2020 to say he had lost confidence in Griffith.
“I have no intention to do so. I am not going to make any comments as it pertains to the comments made by the Prime Minister. What I would state is that this is not about Gary Griffith. I continue to state that we have institutions...institutions must do what is required. The country is waiting to exhale.”
Griffith said the best way for us to deal with this situation is from an objective perspective.
“The merit list was delivered to her Excellency the President...the President has no other choice...it is in the Constitution...she has no discretion. The only option she has when she received that Merit list is to forward it to Parliament.”
Griffith said, “The PSC does not have the authority through cata boil, where it is, you could give something to the President and then ask for it later on in the afternoon. There is no authority, Whatever is the reason that the PSC chairman decided to do something like that which she has no authority to do that...that is her business. She will deal with that and answer that.”
He also stated that the President also “had no authority to give any document back to the PSC. Her only option...she has no discretion is to forward that Merit List to Parliament. If and when that is done, the faster the better, Parliament can then decide who is the substantive commissioner of police... whoever that may be. It does not have to be me. It definitely may not be me. It could be me...it does not matter.”
The fact remains, Griffith said, institutions must do their job.
Griffith said former PSC chairman Bliss Seepersad has failed miserably.
“She has done many things that would be dealt with eventually, as it pertains to making false statements that I interfered with investigations. Also removing a sitting Commissioner of Police at the time without authorisation by the PSC members...and she will have to answer for that.” But as it pertains to where the country will go from here, Griffith said “.the best option is for the President to do what is required....She has no other alternative. No other option. ...as in law... is to forward that Merit list to Parliament. The faster that is done the faster this country will have a substantive Commissioner of Police.”