It has been often said that Trinidad and Tobago is a seven-day wonder. This is because when things happen, most sectors of society often forget about it and move on within a week. While that's okay for the average citizen, one would hardly attribute behaviour to the highest officeholder in the land - President Paula-Mae Weekes.
However, it would seem Her Excellency has moved on from the Police Service Commission debacle under former chair Bliss Seepersad, and how it handled the reappointment of Gary Griffith as acting Commissioner of Police after his full-time contract ended.
Central to the imbroglio that enveloped the PSC before the chair and her commissioners resigned recently was a meeting at President's House on August 12 featuring Seepersad, the President and a high public official. If one is to believe UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, that person was Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.
While there have been calls from learned Senior Counsels Martin Daly and Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj for the President to clear the air on what transpired, noting the significance of protecting the integrity and independence of Her Excellency’s office and the PSC, there has been silence from the President.
The President’s silence should not, however, be seen as an open door for any citizen, whether they sit in the Parliament — as in the case of Senator David Nakhid — or a caller to a radio programme to disrespect the nation's highest officeholder.
Immediately upon entering office in 2018, President Weekes told citizens she had our interest at heart and put making T&T a better place at the centre of her focus. The country was optimistic of a new dawn in leadership as Weekes said, “As your servant, my promise is that I will work tirelessly, (I’ll labour night and day) to do my best by word and deed both to be a light and spread the light of others at every opportunity."
There is no way Her Excellency could have forgotten that promise, or that she told citizens she had "listened carefully" to all that we said following her election to high office and that our “high expectations indicate to me that there is a mustard seed of faith that things can get better in our twin-island republic - and if I read that right - all things, good things are possible for Trinidad and Tobago.”
The President’s apparent decision to move on with the submission of two new PSC members to the Parliament, without clearing the air on what happened to their predecessors, will do little to appease the public’s concern over the dark cloud hanging over the body now. In other words, a new PSC will not have the public’s confidence if there is an impression it is not an independent body.
This is why this newspaper holds out hope that the President will keep her word to this country and will shed some light on what happened on August 12, especially since only she has the direct knowledge to answer the burning questions. The President’s no-nonsense attitude prior to now means citizens have come to expect nothing less than clarity on this burning issue.