PSC Must Explain

Newsday Editorial
August 26, 2011 –

Police Commissioner Dwayne GibbsON SUNDAY, President George Maxwell Richards signed a proclamation declaring this country to be under a state of emergency.

It should be common knowledge that when this country is under a state of emergency, it is placed in a very sensitive position: civil rights are significantly curtailed, curfews are often put in place, the Police Service, the Defence Force and the Ministry of National Security assume extraordinary powers of stop, search, arrest and detention.

In these circumstances, it is imperative that the public have confidence in the ability of the police to carry out their functions and it is also essential that there should be no questions over the legal validity of the actions taken by the Police Service, questions which may raise doubts and cause confusion in the population.

But on the face of it, the Police Service Commission, by its actions on Tuesday, appears to have been ignorant of these dynamics. The members of the commission are: Professor Ramesh Deosaran (chairman); attorney Martin George; Kenneth Parker; Addison Khan and Jacqueline Cheesman. George is better-known as the attorney retained by PNM senator Fitzgerald Hinds in relation to the NP/Gopaul matter.

The PSC on Tuesday issued, via its Public Education Unit, a press release to the nation’s media purporting to address the issue of the absence of Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs.

Gibbs left the country last Friday to attend official business at Brazil and returned on Tuesday. The PSC claimed that Gibbs failed to properly notify the Commission of his trip to Brazil.

“The Police Service Commission wishes to signal its alarm and concern over the procedure and protocol employed by the Commissioner of Police for his leave of absence from the country and his possible leave of absence from duty in the Office of Commissioner of Police,” the PSC said, adding that Gibbs failed “to notify us properly” of his absence.

Further, the PSC release argued that while Deputy Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams was acting in the post of Police Commissioner in Gibbs’ absence, the PSC had not formally issued Williams with a letter of appointment to act in the post.

This was a crucial point to raise, because, as the PSC pointed out, it was Stephen Williams who, on Monday, signed the curfew orders which put six regions of the country under a 9pm to 5am emergency curfew.

However by Wednesday, almost everything claimed in the PSC press release — drafted by Martin George — was revealed to be incorrect. Far from improperly leaving the country, Gibbs last Friday had notified the Director of Personnel Administration (DPA) Gloria Edwards-Joseph of his absence by submitting an application which noted that the duties of Police Commissioner would fall to Stephen Williams. That same day, the DPA forwarded the application to the PSC. The PSC instead of dealing with the matter which it now piously claims is of such great significance took a decision to defer consideration of the application until this Tuesday. Even when the state of emergency was declared on Sunday the PSC did not consider it urgent enough to deal with the Gibbs’ application for leave on Monday but waited until its regular Tuesday meeting to consider it.

In any event, Williams was issued with a letter of appointment on Tuesday by the PSC — the same day it issued its press release. The appointment had retroactive effect from last Friday. Where, we ask, was the sense of urgency in dealing with what the PSC now argues was such a serious matter?

Lawyers noted that the use of retroactive appointments is common in the public service and never posed a threat to the legal validity of the curfew orders.

There were reports from Commission sources this week that Tuesday’s press release had been subject to lax scrutiny by the PSC. This is easy to believe. But even if that is so, it does not absolve members of the Commission for the irresponsible action they took in releasing a press release which was not only disingenuous but had the clear impact of creating chaos in relation to the curfews at a time when the country has been locked into a sensitive state of emergency.

There were reports that the PSC would issue another press release explaining the claims it made in the first release, but such a release has not yet materialised. But it is clear that the PSC must explain itself in this matter, by offering some sound reason for its actions, and more importantly, the timing of such action. It is imperative that the PSC give some explanation and that it convince the population that its release was not designed to throw a spanner in the works.

The PSC is headed by this country’s leading criminologist who for years has been the strongest voice in the fight against crime. It seems unbelievable to us that he could have allowed such an attempt to further destabilise an already traumatised people.,146250.html

6 thoughts on “PSC Must Explain”

  1. There seems to be widespread support for the state of emergency aka curfew as proclaimed in T&T; however, the government seems to be in a state of confusion.
    Does this government have a qualified communications director?

    The Police Commission says one thing.
    The Commissioner of Police releases information which he had to withdraw.
    The Prime Minister made an incomplete declaration on national television.
    The Attorney General provides voluntary confusing explanations on national television.
    The Minister of Security gives his own version of the perimiters of the curfew which contradicts previous information released.

    A good idea to curb crime is squandered by what seems to be incompetence at all levels.

  2. Once again the authorities need to have their facts right. Having heard the statements from the PSC I was never in doubt that it was untrue. I am of the view that they have tarnished the character of the Police Commissioner and therefore needs to publicly apologise to him and the Police Service. i am of the further view that the Government is not allowing the Commissioner to do his job by implementing his and the service’s strategies. There is continued political interference by the Government.

    This is certainly not fair. As if it was an orchestrated attempt by the country.s leadership to cause us international embarrassment as firstly we had the PM putting the cart before the horse by publicising that a S.O.E would be declared even before the President is informed of the impending request. it is a request not an instruction. According to Kizzie Ruiz this PP engine stall.

  3. “The PSC is headed by this country’s leading criminologist who for years has been the strongest voice in the fight against crime. It seems unbelievable to us that he could have allowed such an attempt to further destabilize an already traumatised people.”
    Hence the reason Newsday editorial, why, it becomes imperative, that we always do the wise thing, and that of course is to ‘examine de horns,’if you catch my drift.
    The problem that faces what I not too affectionately like to refer to as the ‘high end , neo tribal , fake anti genocidal, evil , non patriotic , conspirators , led by the likes of your now infamous Minister of Education , Dr Gooppiesing ,is this folks.
    In their quest for power, they saw no problem ,in demonizing an entire innocent race of loving, caring , inclusive people , as to the cause of the ghastly kidnappings, that were taking place across the country, often led by low life criminals, but often with full knowledge , and therefore ,ably assisted by large percentage, of paying elite clients, impatient with waiting for family members to die, in certain unmentionable quarters.
    Fast forward to August 2011 , and we see that puppet policy wonks, and their masters , are stuck , are found with perpetual eggs in their faces , as captain to crook, continually , falls prey to violent crimes, all across the nation, due in greater measure to a continued PNM policy , of neglect of the lower echelons amongst the cross racial / ethnic masses.
    As such , there becomes a desperate need to resort to escapist , media posturing, mechanisms , that will of necessity fail , as our country , not only remains divided, but a sense of social malaise ,remains the norm , as decent human beings, are treated with undisguised disrespect, and are confronted with unwarranted ,condescending display of behaviors ,by the obvious clueless , square pegs in round hole.
    We wish our citizens well, as they would need as the support they can get. The barbarians are at the gate , threatening to overrun it , but there is hope , as they can be stopped.
    The question is, who is looking out for the common, yet desperate , members amongst the masses, and where are the progressive leaders to emerge from , who will of necessity, see to it that ‘changes,’ are not simply some stupid , ‘electioneering ,catch phrase ,’ to pander , and mislead gullible fans?
    Let’s stay engaged, as these are politically desperate times,but for true, knowledgeable , and socially conscious patriots,these are mere speed bumps, and mole hill challenges, yes?

  4. SOME RIGHTS? What’s become of our people, so fragile weak divided! The Gov alone has all the say and everyone seems to be going down with this invention (taking our Rights) on account of their protracted failures. These criminals may not have the means of conveying their distrust for Gov& society due to the systematic kid glove gov and Elite s corruption. Jack Warner paid and engaged if not all most criminal gangs to hand victory to the PP and everyone in the party knew it. Now they have dumped the criminals more over they have targeted the AfroTrini community even at the professional level stealing our job. Take a serious look at the areas marked for strangulation. Why Maloney is spared-I’ll tell you: its a Indian constituent though crime is rampant there. My country which slaved for 570 years are once back in the shoes of Plantation politics and not one of its representatives dare speak out in the Parliament where he/she is free to do so. We need new leaders!

  5. I was not surprised at the outcome of the PSC. The initial article did not ring right- it sounded more like some personal vendetta against the CoP in my opinion, by the mere wording of the press release. I’m really not surprised- conduct way below standards from some of the PSC members.

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