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Saturday 20 April 2019
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Govt wants ‘closure’ on CoP selection

Former Police Service Commission chairman Nizam Mohammed
Former Police Service Commission chairman Nizam Mohammed

FORMER Police Service Commission (PSC) chairman Nizam Mohammed yesterday said he would not be surprised if Government supports Gary Griffith to become the next Commissioner of Police (CoP).

And he said he does not believe that Government will experience a backlash if the former national security minister is chosen by the Parliament. Griffith is reportedly the final name on the order of merit list produced by the PSC.

Referring to statements made by the Prime Minister in the House of Representatives last Friday, Mohammed said, “ I think the Government wants to bring closure.”

Last Friday, Dr Rowley said the country “needs an intervention of change to get an upper hand on crime.”

The PM subsequently hinted a new CoP would be appointed by August 31.

Mohammed said he would have preferred if the PM was “more open and forthright” in what he meant.

While Government has publicly said the CoP selection process used by the PSC was flawed, Mohammed did not think it practical to exhaust the names on the merit list and restart the process.

Based on the evidence in the public domain, Mohammed was not confident the PSC would be able to successfully undertake a new CoP selection process. He believes the population would be relieved if a substantive CoP is chosen.

Even before the House sits to debate a motion to approve Griffith’s nomination, Mohammed said, it appears as if Government and the Opposition are trying to upstage one another “trying to get kudos for such an appointment.”

Mohammed said the “absurdity” which has resulted in a CoP not being appointed for several years is the result of political interference in the structure of the PSC through several administrations.

He added that the PSC is the only service commission which has experienced these problems. On reported objections by the Police Social and Welfare Association to Griffith possibly being appointed CoP, Mohammed said the association needs to “stop behaving like a trade union.” Mohammed opined that may have happened if Government and the Opposition were able to speak with a “united voice” on this matter.

On whether the Opposition may have reservations about Griffith being appointed CoP, Mohammed said citizens must show a level or maturity on this issue.

Griffith was a government senator and national security minister under the former People’s Partnership government from September 6, 2013 to February 2, 2015.

Prior to his ministerial appointment, Griffith was national security adviser to former prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar. Given the state of crime in the country, Mohammed said the population deserves to have a professional police organisation which it can trust.

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