Former chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC) Ramesh Deosaran yesterday described the current state of the now fully imploded PSC as a “mess” and said that the independence of the Commission was now “in a grey area”.
Deosaran’s description came just after the resignation of the last standing Commissioner, attorney Roger Kawalsingh.
The PSC now only comprises its chairman Bliss Seepersad as over the past week, Commissioners Courtney Mc Nish, Dr Sandra Craig-James and now Kawalsingh have walked away from the Commission.
Kawalsingh’s resignation was formalised yesterday with the release from the Office of the President acknowledging that it was with immediate effect.
Deosaran yesterday said that Seepersad can now either have her appointment rescinded or wait until the Commission is re-staffed.
“She alone standing there is of no functional effect,” he said.
“She could remain because she was appointed but she cannot activate the business of the Commission,” he said.
Before its collapse, the Seepersad-led Commission rescinded the suspension of acting Commissioner Gary Griffith while it led an investigation into the Firearm User License matter. Griffith had given the PSC until October 31 to complete its investigation. But now any findings would have to be held until the new PSC is commissioned.
“She is non-functional in terms of the business of the Commission. The Commission is still alive as far as the Constitution goes, it’s just a matter of staffing,” he said.
“It is a ticklish thing with the numbers,” Deosaran said.
He said that there must be five members in the PSC but “there were only four Commissioners for such a long time,” he said.
Deosaran said that because of the way that Seepersad “managed” the legal advice she got on the handling of the Griffith appointment and the manner in which she “disregarded” the views of the other Commissioners, “it appeared as if something was happening behind the scenes”.
“That diluted the imperative for full independence from political interference,” he said.
Deosaran said that the political interference accusation was a “red herring”.
“Because the parliament, the politicians make the final decision and the Commission becomes just a messenger to make a formal appointment,” he said.
“The Prime Minister and the majority makes the final decision,” he said.
Deosaran said that the Prime Minister agreed that the legislative and administrative framework is worst than it has ever been.
“Having said that publicly that it is the worse, the country would expect him now to do something about it,” he said.
Over the weekend, the Office of the President said that a nominee was before Parliament to be debated but that the session had lapsed when Parliament adjourned. Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar refuted that but Leader of Government Business Camille Robinson-Regis issued a statement correcting Persad-Bissessar and reminding her that the name Vincel Edwards was before the Parliament to be discussed.
However, Deosaran said even if Edwards passes muster in Parliament, the PSC is still lacking enough members to hold a quorum.
He added Kawalsingh’s resignation means that Seepersad could either wait until the Commission is re-staffed or her own appointment could be rescinded but the rash of resignations put Seepersad and her actions at the PolSC under a microscope.