PSC faces probe

After almost seven years of work and expenditure of $7 million of taxpayers’ money on the search for a Police Commissioner, the country will have to wait further as Parliament yesterday announced a Special Select Committee will now probe how the Police Service Commission arrived at their selection of acting DCP Deodat Dulalchan for the post.Local firm KPMG, who assisted in the process, will also face a probe by the body. The committee will obtain evidence, additional information and documentation regarding the criteria, methods, considerations and the processes used in the selection of candidates for police commissioner and deputy police commissioner. It is expected to deliver a report by March 31.Members of the committee include Fitzgerald Hinds, Terrence Deyalsingh, Ganga Singh, Roodlal Moonilal and Nicole Olivierre.Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s call for the probe was immediately supported by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar in Parliament yesterday, as both agreed the issue had raised more questions than answers.In addressing the House, Rowley said the troubling information in the public domain about Dulalchan had made it critical that the process be reviewed.

“It is with great disappointment that we have to acknowledge that we are not in a position to conclude this process to the satisfaction of the wider national community,” Rowley said.

He said problems the Police Service currently faced were a lack of confidence in the service and an absence of trust between the service and the population “It was our anticipation that with the coming of a police commissioner that these two impediments would have been addressed in some small measure to begin to build a need-to-know in T&T and to restore into our community, a Police Service whose leadership is beyond reproach,” the PM said.“Without answers to the question that have been raised is for the House to proceed without appropriate information as required for the House to act appropriately and for that trust to be based on a foundation that all is well in the state of T&T.”

He said the selection process had come “through a number of hoops, a number of hurdles, in a time where the streets of T&T are killing fields and the Police Service is in dire need of revolutionary leadership.”Saying Government had been waiting for an opportunity to “close the matter” for quite some time, Rowley said it was with a “certain amount of expectation and anticipation” that the public receives some answers.“If there is any development that indicates the dysfunctionality in certain aspects of the Government, this particular matter highlights such dysfunctionality,” he said.

He said when he was Opposition leader he deemed the selection process unacceptable and recommended change.On becoming PM, Rowley said the first thing he discovered with the process was that there “appeared to be nobody really responsible for it.”“As you tried to push the stone up the hill monumental exchanges wasn’t the Prime Minister’s Office, it wasn’t the DPA (Director of Personal Administration), it wasn’t the commission...the end result was that the process took a very long time to get to where we are today,” Rowley said.“In the mean time we had a situation of acting appointments and a lot has been said about that, but it had the effect of contributing to the under performance of the Police Service.”

He said it was not in dispute that the agency of the State responsible for policing the State was the Police Service, adding every citizen had an interest in the effective functioning of the service.Rowley said like the man in the street, he as PM became aware of the troubled selection process via the media, as he got no inside information about the process.“The process is closed and it appeared for the first time before me today (yesterday),” Rowley added.The last time there was a full time police commissioner was in 2012 when Canadian Dwayne Gibbs was at the helm. Since then Stephen Williams has been acting in the post.

Source: (Geisha Kowlessar)

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