A call by criminologist Prof Ramesh Deosaran for the public to be able to elect a Commissioner of Police (CoP) drew sharply different responses from Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi and Opposition Senator Gerald Ramdeen. The report of the Police Manpower Audit Committee chaired by Deosaran was laid in Parliament last Friday.
Al-Rawi seemingly warmed to the idea, telling Newsday such a system already exists in the United States where the likes of sheriffs and circuit judges are elected, but said similar could only occur in TT with constitutional reform. He said the current system of selecting a CoP is “skewed and takes too long.”
Al-Rawi also lamented shortcomings in the operation of the Police Service Commission (PSC) where disciplinary matters may take as long as 15 years and 17 years to be heard with sittings repeatedly stymied by a lack of quorum.
Al-Rawi said his grandfather, politician the late Lionel Seukeran, at this country’s pre-Independence talks at Marlborough House in England had warned of the shortcomings of the Services Commission system. “He was right.” Ramdeen gave his initial views. “You’d need professional people versed in human resources, criminal justice and criminology and a proper understanding of the TT Police Service which is governed by the Police Service Act and the Constitution, persons of a certain calibre able to select the best person possible.”
“It’s the first time I’m hearing such an important position should be left in the hands of the layman on the street and the population. One can understand that this may be perhaps the most democratic process, but democracy and getting the best person for the job in these particular circumstances may not meet eye to eye.”