“Was there a conspiracy orchestrated by the Prime Minister and top Government officials to dismiss contract workers attached to the office of the Commissioner of Police?”
That’s the question being asked by Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh, who believes this may well be the case.
In a statement issued today on the matter, MP Indarsingh references recent reports in the media which indicated that several civilian personnel who were hired on contract in various roles at the Police Commissioner’s office during the tenure of Gary Griffith, now find themselves without employment.
“Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley must now tell the nation whether he was involved in the firing of a number of civilian personnel at the Office of the Commissioner of Police,” the Opposition MP states. “The Prime Minister, the substantive Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds and the Acting Minister of National Security Stuart Young must answer immediately. If they don’t, then their silence is consent.”
MP Indarsingh argues that such an assumption of interference possible by the Prime Minister is not far-fetched.
“We must recall the Prime Minister’s recent admission that he had lost confidence in former Commissioner Griffith through a letter which was written to the Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC) Bliss Seepersad,” he points out.
“We must also recall that to date, we do not know what happened to the merit list which was submitted by the Chairman of Police Service Commission to the Office of the President, “why was it withdrawn?” Who was the “high office holder” who allegedly met with Her Excellency Paula Mae Weekes which resulted in the Merit List withdrawn? The Prime Minister is yet to deny whether he directed or influenced the withdrawal of the said list,” he added.
According to MP Indarsingh, PM Rowley himself has admitted to “writing to the Police Service Commission (PSC) indicating his loss of confidence in then Commissioner Griffith”, as well as to “initiating a two-person investigation into the issuing of Firearm User Licenses (FULs)”.
“That is an unprecedented interference, given that the PSC is an independent institution under the Constitution and ought to make its considerations free from the weight of political influence,” he argues, adding that in the matter of the FULs, “institutions within the police service such as the Police Complaints Authority and the Professional Standards Bureau are mandated to conduct any investigation into allegations of police misconduct.”
The Couva South MP also questions why the dismissals have taken place while substantive Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds is abroad and Minister Stuart Young currently is the Acting Minister of National Security.
“Interestingly, Minister Young was the substantive Minister for most of the period when the hiring of the said civilian personnel occurred, and he too must indicate whether he has used his current acting stint as Minister of National Security to direct or influence the firing of such persons,” he says.