The following is a press release from the Office of the President.
THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
REPUBLIC OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
In the matter of the Constitution and of the Revocation of the Appointment of the Chairman of the Police Service Commission, as Chairman & Member.
His Excellency GEORGE MAXWELL RICHARDS, T.C., C.M.T., Ph.D., President advises that he has, with immediate effect revoked the appointment of Mr. Nizam Mohammed as Chairman and member of the Police Service Commission.
In so doing, His Excellency has exercised the power vested in him by Section 122A (1) (d) & (f) of the Constitution (as amended), all other powers thereto enabling and, after a most cordial meeting with Mr. Mohammed on Friday 1st April, 2011 when the business of the Commission was discussed.
NEWS UPDATE: APRIL 05, 2011
Warner: It’s a sign of T&T’s unity
Acting Prime Minister Jack Warner said yesterday the action by President George Maxwell Richards on the revocation of the appointment of chairman of the Police Service Commission is a clear indication that as a nation “we are not prepared to countenance any statement that threatens the unity of our national state.”
Following is his statement: I wish to acknowledge the action taken by His Excellency President George Maxwell Richards on the revocation of the appointment of Mr Nizam Mohammed as chairman of the Police Service Commission. His Excellency’s carefully deliberated action is a clear indication that as a nation we are not prepared to countenance any statement that threatens the unity of our national state. This has been an extremely difficult moment for the President but what we can be absolutely assured of is a Head of State and a Government that always put the well-being of all its citizens first before sectoral interests, which interests can easily divide us. Regardless of how painful such action may be, as a Government elected by the people of Trinidad and Tobago, we will always strive to do what is right.
Feedback from the firing of Nizam Mohammed
By Alicia Llanos
April 05, 2011 – guardian.co.tt
President George Maxwell Richards yesterday revoked the appointment of chairman of the Police Service Commission, Nizam Mohammed, citing Section 122A (1) (d) and (f) of the Constitution (Amendment) Act 2006. Section 122A (1) states: “The President shall, after consultation with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, terminate the appointment of a member of the Police Service Commission, if the member
(d) fails to perform his duties in a responsible or timely manner; and,
(f) demonstrates a lack of competence to perform his duties.
Mohammed’s remarks were condemned by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar as reckless and irresponsible.” Members of the Government, Opposition, the Police Service and other national organisations publicly called for Mohammed’s removal. Following are the comments from prominent members of the public:
Basdeo Panday, former prime minister
Nizam Mohammed’s dismissal will further the consciousness of racism existing in T&T. Mohammed’s dismissal would not do anything to lessen the awareness of ethnic imbalances within the Police Service and other sectors in T&T. In my opinion Mohammed’s position was revoked due to political pressure placed on the Government. The Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar must come forward and explain to the public why Mohammed’s position was revoked. A similar statement must come from the President.
Sat Maharaj secretary general of the Maha Sabha
There is no justification behind the dismissal of Nizam Mohammed from his position as chairman of the PSC. Mohammed “was only speaking the truth,” and there was no true justification for his dismissal. The President acted on public and political opinion rather than appropriately dealing with the matter of ethnic imbalances in the Police Service.
Dr Amery Browne, Opposition MP
Nizam Mohammed’s position should have been revoked in July of last year when he failed to comply with lawful instructions after a traffic violation. Mohammed’s dismissal was an “example of the President fulfilling his responsibility and taking decisive action in the best interest of the citizens of T&T.
Dana Seetahal Senior Counsel
The President made the right decision by revoking Nizam Mohammed’s position as he had proved himself incompetent of holding such a high-ranking position. Mohammed did not understand his remit and his statements showed his incompetence to head the PSC. His statements were void of cultural and social analyses and had the potential to cause a severe division within the Police Service. It was irresponsible to suggest one’s race determined one’s place in the hierarchy of the Police Service. His statements went against the grain of the history of the Police Service.
Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, former Attorney General
President George Maxwell Richards had no alternative but to take action against Nizam Mohammed. The President acted well within the constitution in removing Mohammed on the basis of his incompetence to hold such a position. Mohammed’s statements were made on his own “personal findings” and could have created “disaffection between races in T&T.”
Dr Hamid Ghany, senior lecturer in government at the University of the West Indies’ St Augustine Campus
The revocation of Nizam Mohammed’s position as chairman of the Police Services Commission was necessary. The ramifications of Mohammed’s statements would have caused considerable damage to ethnic relations within the Police Service. If Mohammed had remained chairman, any East Indian would have had their nomination for promotion reviewed “in a light of suspicion.” Mohammed would have caused other members of the Police Service who were not of East Indian descent to feel threatened that they may not be treated fairly, based on the agenda he outlined to rectify ethnic imbalances in the service.
Israel Khan, Senior Counsel
Nizam Mohammed was wrongly condemned. Mohammed became a suicide bomber being condemned not for what he said, but how he said it. Mohammed was within his rights to discuss ethnic imbalances within the Police Service. Mohammed’s statements became intangible to the Government, Opposition and the Police Service itself, leading to his condemnation. I do not agree with Mohammed’s position being revoked but understood it would be impossible for him to continue to work in the Police Service Commission. Despite my objections I respect the decision of the President.
Jack Ewatski, Deputy Police Commissioner
The police need to remain focussed on the job they have to do. This includes providing safety to the public, apprehending criminals and solving crimes.
AT ABOUT 11 o’clock yesterday morning, President George Maxwell Richards ended ten days of raging national controversy over the issue of a racial imbalance in the Police Service by announcing the revocation of Nizam Mohammed’s appointment as chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC).
President cites Constitution in revoking appointment of PSC chairman
Difficult choice for President
ACTING Prime Minister Jack Warner yesterday welcomed President George Maxwell Richard’s announcement that the appointment of Nizam Mohammed as chairman of the Police Service Commission has been revoked.
Rowley: Firing clearly warranted
OPPOSITION Leader and PNM political leader Dr Keith Rowley yesterday argued that President George Maxwell Richards’ removal of Nizam Mohammed as chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC) represents the assertion of a principle that the Presidency can be used “to contribute to the improvement and sustenance of the governance of the country.”
Nizam: I am a victim
Sacked chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC) Nizam Mohammed says he is a victim of breach of natural justice and process.
‘Max must explain decision’
Apparently stunned by the decision yesterday of President George Maxwell Richards to revoke his appointment as chairman of the Police Service Commission, Nizam Mohammed insisted that the President say on what grounds he was fired.
Cloud always over Nizam’s appointment
From the very beginning, Nizam Mohammed’s eight-month tenure as chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC) was shrouded in controversy.
Dana and Daly praise President
President George Maxwell Richards got it right, attorney Dana Seetahal SC said yesterday.
3 PSC members: Ethnic imbalance never discussed
Three members of the Police Service Commission yesterday distanced themselves from comments attributed to former chairman Nizam Mohammed and wished him well in the future.
PSC’s work ‘will go on’
As they appeared to breathe a collective sigh of relief yesterday, three commissioners indicated that the work of the Police Service Commission continues, notwithstanding the fact that it now does not have a chairman.
Race issue still to be addressed
THREE members appointed to the Police Service Commission (PSC) yesterday admitted that the issue of racial imbalance within the ranks of the Police Service is an issue that must be dealt with. But just not now.
PSC member has ‘no view’ on Nizam’s removal
Police Service Commission (PSC) member Addison Khan says he has no view on the removal, by President George Maxwell Richards, of Nizam Mohammed as chairman of the PSC. He says Richards had a job to do and he did it.
Dumas: He didn’t have ‘speaking rights’
Former head of the Public Service Reginald Dumas says sacked chairman of the Police Service Commission Nizam Mohammed did not have the constitutional authority to address any perceived ethnic imbalance in the T&T Police Service.
Police Service must move on
MINUTES after President George Maxwell Richards revoked the appointment of Nizam Mohammed as chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), Acting Commissioner of Police Jack Ewatski said the Police Service must move on and remain focused on its duties.
Media lauded for ‘vibrant’ coverage of Nizam affair
THERE was high praise yesterday for both the print and broadcast media for their continuous coverage of the matter involving fired Police Service Commission (PSC) chairman Nizam Mohammed.
IT was inevitable that Police Service Commission (PSC) chairman would soon be out of office after his surprising and unprovoked remarks to the Joint Select Committee (JSC) a fortnight ago. The writing was on the wall from the moment his remarks about redressing an ethnic imbalance in the top ranks of the Police Service were hit by both Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley, each of whom held urgent meetings with the President.
Timely revocation by President
Yesterday’s decision by President George Maxwell Richards to revoke the appointment of Nizam Mohammed as the chairman of the Police Service Commission ought to bring an end to the ten-day imbroglio caused by Mohammed’s extremely divisive comments.
Nizam Mohammed’s mission impossible
The effect of an 11-line statement issued yesterday by the President was to bring the axe down on the knotty tangle that had since March 25 ensnared the Police Service Commission (PSC). The statement ended a tense waiting period by announcing that President George Maxwell Richards had revoked with immediate effect the appointment of PSC chairman Nizam Mohammed.