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Friday 21 September 2018
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Ganga questions leak to media in CoP process

Former PSC chairman Dr Maria-Therese Gomes.

CHAGUANAS West MP Ganga Singh yesterday asked former members of the Police Service Commission (PSC) about the source of leaks to the media in relation to the result of the 3-1 decision made during the selection process for Commissioner of Police (CoP) and Deputy CoP (DCP).

Singh was speaking yesterday at the sitting of the Special Select Committee to inquire into the selection process for the posts of CoP and DCP at ANR Robinson Room, the Waterfront, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain.

“Throughout the process there was the requirement of the strictest confidentiality and secrecy, which is why I wanted to know who were present because there was a significant leak in the newspapers,” he said.

Singh read from a report carried in the Newsday dated February 1, which implied that the people involved in the selection process were the four commissioners and the contracted consulting firm KPMG. The commissioners had reached a 3-1 decision, which was confirmed by former chairman of the PSC Dr Maria Therese Gomes. Somehow, the result made its way to the media.

Singh said it seemed that the leak came from the commission itself. However, committee chairman Fitzgerald Hinds said they could not deduce this as there were other people present in the room during the process.

There was also a brief difference of opinion between Gomes and PSC member attorney Martin George when he said there was a 2-2 vote among the commissioners as to whether one of the candidates ought to be the subject of further investigation.

The issue of the result was raised by St Joseph MP Terrence Deyalsingh who asked for confirmation of the result. George said after the deadlock there was the exercise of the casting vote. Gomes had objected to George’s statement, saying that matter should be discussed in-camera, but was overruled by Hinds.

“Hold on a second please, let me say this. Firstly, when someone has the floor he has the floor. We understand your enthusiasm and so on, but I want to urge us all to be sensitive with the matter we have opened here. This is the forum of truth, it can’t be anything else. If it is a forum of truth then everyone in this room is permitted to make their submissions,” Hinds said.

George said there was need for further elucidation because there were different issues for consideration, the first of which was the question as to the 2-2 vote, and as to whether a candidate ought to be the subject of further investigation.

The vote was two for, two against.

He said after the deadlock, there was the exercise of the casting vote when two members raised queries as to the appropriateness of the use of the casting vote.

George said internal legal counsel indicated that the legislation did allow for the use of the casting vote and the casting vote prevailed.

“Thereafter the question arose as to whether the Order of Merit had the approval which then would have hinged on the previous issue whether there ought to be an investigation to a certain candidate. At that point, that vote went 3-1 with one member still insisting that since this is something that ought to be investigated, that member could not approve the Order of Merit list,” he explained.

At this point Hinds called on the committee for a “quick huddle”.

It was also revealed that in her report to President Anthony Carmona, Gomes stated that additional security checks were conducted and senior counsel’s advice was sought.

When asked what was the nature of the advice sought, she said if it debarred candidates from the recruitment and selection process.

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