Yesterday’s Police Service Commission (PSC) meeting may have been the last straw?
After yesterday’s resignation of Courtney McNish from the commission, there was subsequent silence from other members Susan Craig-James and Roger Kawalsingh on whether they might resign also.
But UNC MP Roodal Moonilal has called on both to say if they supported the commission’s decision to ‘suspend’ Gary Griffith.
“And I call on PSC chairman Bliss Seepersad to say if the ‘suspension’ was her decision or that of Prime Minister Keith Rowley and National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds,” he added.
Moonilal said in the next 24 hours the public will learn of the the PSC chairman’s alleged “high-handedness.”
McNish resigned yesterday following a virtual meeting commissioners held with Seepersad on the broad issues regarding the selection process for a Police Commissioner and recent matters concerning Griffith. The 10.30 am meeting was held virtually.
Sources confirmed discussion at yesterday’s PSC meeting were also had by member commissioners (for the first time) with retired Justice Stanley John, whom the PSC hired to examine matters, including regarding firearms users’ licences issues within the TTPS.
McNish didn’t respond to questions sent by TG on Whatsapp yesterday, although the messages were opened. The TG had asked about possible reasons for his resignation, including whether he and other commissioners had concerns with the way the CoP selection issue and subsequent procedures and suspension were being handled and if concerns were being expressed for a while since August. Nor did he reply on queries whether he had concerns on the direction by the PSC chairman, whether commissioners felt they hadn’t gotten sufficient/correct information – and if he felt PSC was being manipulated and he no longer wanted to be there.
Kawalsingh when asked if he would resign, told Guardian Media he was not authorised to speak to media and declined comment. Craig-James also said she wasn’t authorised to speak to reporters and “I cannot give any comment whatsoever.”
Sources said there’s been concern by commissioners on the CoP selection issue and related matters since mid-August when the selection process halted. This included up to last weekend, when concern was expressed about the letter sent to Griffith last Friday.
Seepersad didn’t respond yesterday.
The selection process began on June 17. The PSC is understood to have had a nominee short list of seven including Griffith. But the process halted in August, it’s confirmed.
Yesterday, Moonilal said all commissioners should resign in light of their “blunders, incompetence and illegality of action,” as the PSC’s letter to Griffith appointing him to act, says this was “pending conclusion of the selection process.”
Moonilal said the National Security Council could only deal with policy and was not a law enforcement agency, and if the PM had information on improper conduct/wrongdoing, he could have sent it to the DPP or Police Complaints Authority (PCA).
He questioned if both of the two retired security heads, who did the report for the council, signed it.
Yesterday, Hinds and Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi did n0t respond to queries on McNish’s resignation and the implications for the PSC and CoP matters.
Other Government sources said the matter can only be reviewed as PSC was an independent body
Communication Minister Symon de Nobrega said he had only just got notice of the resignation and couldn’t comment.
Other Government officials, however, said the resignation was “surprising.”
Yesterday, it was confirmed, via letter which Guardian Media saw, that Seepersad, in an August 15 letter to Griffith, confirmed the process to select a CoP wasn’t concluded.
She said a list of suitably qualified nominees from those on contract or previously on contract was sent to the President on August 12 and this was acknowledged on August 13.
The chairman then said Griffith was appointed as acting CoP pending completion of the CoP selection process.