L to R – Member of Parliament for Oropouche East, Dr Roodal Moonilal; President Paula-Mae Weekes; Minister of National Security, Fitzgerald Hinds MP. (Images courtesy Parliament Secretariat and Office of the President)

Member of Parliament for Oropouche East, Dr Roodal Moonilal, believes it is time that President Paula-Mae Weekes step in and bring resolution to the current situation involving the selection of a new Commissioner of Police.

In a release issued this afternoon, the Opposition MP stated:

“In the name of honouring the enshrined constitutional rights of citizens, the President must step in now … President Paula Mae Weekes must immediately intervene and ask members of the Police Service Commission whether they have taken instructions from a politician.”

In the release, Dr Moonilal accused Minister of National Security, Fitzgerald Hinds MP, of “undermining the Constitution”, with regard to the PSC’s inability to select a new top cop.

According to Dr Moonilal: “The Head of State [President Weekes] must request that Commissioners explain whether they took orders from National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds to instruct Gary Griffith not to resume duties.”

Dr Moonilal also says the PSC must account for its continued inaction.

“The PSC must also indicate whether they were stopped by the political directorate in August from submitting their recommendations to the President for the top CoP after their legal and administrative process was completed. Additionally, the PSC must confirm that they have appointed Stanley John to inquire into a civilian one man signed report on firearm licenses,” he said.

The Opposition MP asserts that should it prove true that there has been interference in the selection process, the President “must dismiss the Commission members for acting in contravention of Trinidad and Tobago’s Constitution.”

“The Police Service Commission, and all similar Commissions, were established in the founding 1962 national Constitution to keep public officers safe from the clutches of dictatorial politicians,” he points out in his release.  “The move to arbitrarily send the incumbent Commissioner of Police on extended vacation is unconstitutional, tyrannical, and a dangerous precedent.  Mr. Hinds must be summarily fired for flouting the Constitution and acting in an authoritarian manner.”

“The meddling by politicians in the terms and conditions of employment of a public officer, and, especially, the holder of the sensitive post of Police Commissioner is unacceptable and egregious,” he added.

Dr Moonilal lamented: “We had warned of a plot to smear the name and integrity of the CoP to undermine his chances of returning to office. Today we are sadly vindicated.”