Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and the Police Service Commission (PSC) have done nothing wrong by commissioning independent reports into allegations of wrongdoing in the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service’s Firearm Section, according to the former chairman of the Police Service Commission Dr Ramesh Deosaran.
“The service commission, on principle, cannot form a judgement and execute at the same time. That’s standard practice. Arising from that, the commission would be proper to appoint an independent, outside person, suitably qualified, or even a tribunal,” Deosaran said yesterday.
“It is within their domain to appoint someone from the outside. The Privy Council, themselves, would have said a commission, or any similar body, shouldn’t investigate, enquire and then form a judgement.”
Earlier this week, it was reported that the Prime Minister received the findings of a report into claims of corruption in the TTPS’ firearm user’s license system.
A newspaper report claimed the PM commissioned the report, as National Security Council head, in late 2020 after allegations surfaced of wrongdoing in the firearm licensing system. The report said the Police Service Commission separately appointed former judge Stanley John to further investigate the allegations.
“Remember, the Prime Minister and his Government are answerable to the Parliament. He’s also chairman of the National Security Council and within those two contexts, the Prime Minister reserves, in my view, a discretion whether to make an enquiry or not,” the criminologist said.
“My view is that the Prime Minister has a reserved privilege to make an enquiry. Now having made the enquiry doesn’t mean he would act on it on his own. That is where the question would arise – if he’s acting on his own. What he did was pass on the information, as I understand it.”
The independent investigations, particularly the one commissioned by the PM, were criticised by UNC MP Roodal Moonilal, who said the Prime Minister had no such power. He added that the law permitted the PSC to inquire into conduct of only the Commissioner Deputy Commissioner of Police but not an investigation into police officers.
However, Deosaran defended the PSC’s actions, saying it was not violating its role by carrying out the Stanley John-led investigation. He said the commission is gathering information relative to its selection process for the CoP position that would have otherwise been provided.
“Remember, the commission is now recruiting, assessing, gathering information and if this information is helpful – positively or negatively – to the role of the police service commission, that, to me, is reasonable,” he said.