N Touch
Saturday 18 August 2018
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Nobody benefits

THE GOOD citizens of TT, long subject to a siege of violent criminal activity, deserve far better than this.

The news that the proceedings of the Special Select Committee (SSC) appointed to report on the appointment of a Commissioner of Police (CoP) and Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) have come to an acrimonious end is deeply disappointing. It adds to the distress of the thousands of victims of crime who are awaiting justice. Patience is running thin.

Claims and counter-claims have been made by the Government and the Opposition. But one thing is clear: there is no unanimous agreement on the way forward.

The nation now sees the prospect of measures being implemented only on the strength of a Government majority. That may be sufficient under the law, but it is not in the interest of peace and stability in this country.

The split over whether the Police Service Commission was right or wrong in its last, million-dollar process only serves to deepen what should be a united front on fighting crime. It is a disservice to the thousands of women and men of the law enforcement fraternity who are still without a substantive leader.

Seeing Parliament bicker over the issue while officers are daily facing the line of battle aggravates an already distressing situation.

The sad thing is the SSC had, before Friday, been a cause for optimism. Its establishment had suggested the process of appointment would have been subject to careful, sober review and that both sides of the House of Representatives would have been able to come to some kind of agreement moving forward to deal with any flaws identified.

The committee had within its reach the possibility of a solution being devised that would not send us back to square one. It could have made recommendations for urgent legislative reform to allow an appointment to be made. It was not to be.

What all of this shows is that the question of the appointment of a Police Commissioner is not one that should be left to partisan politics. All of it ironically provides the best reason why a body such as the Police Service Commission is needed in the first place. If we cannot rely on our MPs to come together, we must have strong, impartial bodies capable of fulfilling our key constitutional posts.

In the meanwhile, this fallout simply serves to increase the likelihood that this matter is going to head to court.

Such a prospect could see millions more spent by the State and further delays. Nobody benefits from this madness.


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