Attorney Dave Persad has called upon Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi to resign over his defence of the Police Service Commission’s handling of the acting appointment given to Gary Griffith after his substantive term ended in August.
Persad who was one of the first to raise issues over the Commission’s failure to seek Parliamentary approval for the acting appointment as Griffith was not a serving police officer when he was first appointed, made the statement in a press release issued yesterday.
Persad noted that when he made the comments earlier this month, Al-Rawi defended the process used by the Commission under Legal Notice No. 183 of 2021, which was drafted by him (Al-Rawi).
Persad claimed that after he issued a pre-action protocol letter and social activist Ravi Balgobin Maharaj and his attorney Anand Ramlogan, SC, filed a lawsuit over the issue, the Government sought independent legal advice from retired judge Rolston Nelson, SC.
“Senior Counsel confirmed that the acting appointment was illegal and unconstitutional,” Persad said.
Suggesting that as principal legal advisor to the Government, the Attorney General should be more measured and circumspect with his responses on legal matters of national interest, Persad suggested that Al-Rawi also improperly misspoke when he commented on an incident involving Police Service Legal Unit head Christian Chandler and several officers being investigated for alleged violations of COVID-19 public health regulations and other offences.
“The Attorney General, stunningly offered unsolicited legal defences even before any charges can be proffered!” Persad said.
“In another country, with a more politically conscious population and a government with a leader that adheres to good governance and integrity in public affairs, the Hon. Attorney General would have had to demit office, one way or the other. But not so in sweet T&T!” he added.
Persad also suggested that the fiasco concerning the issue showed interference in the selection process for the next Police Commissioner.
“As the nauseating drama unfolds, it is not unreasonable to hold the view that there was a calculated, orchestrated and deliberate attempt to customize the selection process to curry favour a particular candidate,” Persad said.
He claimed that one positive result of the fiasco is that public institutions may be strengthened as a result.
“The Service Commissions must understand that they are not a law unto themselves and will be held accountable to the public and must conduct their affairs in a transparent, fair, humane and sensitive manner,” Persad said.