Retired head of the public service Reginald Dumas yesterday said the process to appoint a Police Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner in this country was too cumbersome and must be revamped.
“This whole process of how you select a Police Commissioner has to be thrown threw the window and a new, simple and straightforward process put in place,” he told Sunday Newsday.
“We have this convoluted process now of putting up a name and getting a firm, the name goes to the President and he then issues a notification to the House and then the House debates the matter.
“It is too cumbersome and it is absurd and it gives the impression that whoever is chosen as police commissioner and deputy police commissioner are political appointees. And that you cannot have.”
After a suspension of the debate on the Public Service Commission’s (PSC’s) nomination of DCP (Operations) Deodath Dulalchan in the House of Representatives on Friday, the Government moved to establish a special select committee to review the process which the PSC employed to select Dulalchan and Harold Phillip as police commissioner and deputy commissioner, respectively.
The committee has been mandated to report to the House on March 31.
The debate came in the wake of mounting concern about the process by which the men were selected. Finance Minister Colm Imbert announced in the debate that the process to appoint a substantive top cop, which began in 2007, cost taxpayers an estimated $7 million.
Dumas said the process would more than likely have to be restarted.
Meanwhile, a high-ranking source close to the nomination exercise, yesterday questioned the constitutional authority of the House of Representatives to establish a special select committee to enquire into the procedures and processes of the PSC “that is said to be independent.”
“Now, I know that commissions appear before joint select committees, where questions are asked about procedures and the problems that they have,” the source said.
“But, here is a situation where you are talking about summoning the commission. And, if members of the commission say they not coming, then what?
“Are you going to subpoena them? Do they have the power to subpoena a member of an independent commission?
“And if you do not have the power to subpoena a member of an independent commission, what is the point of the committee?” The source said it also appeared as though the nominees for the post of police commissioner, under the existing structure, was a political appointee. “Because although the formal appointment is made by the President, it is the President, after the House has accepted the name... and the House is full of politicians.”