Former chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC) Prof Ramesh Deosaran is calling for clarity from the Ministry of National Security after he received a phone call purportedly from the ministry asking for a recommendation for a candidate for Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP).
But in response to questions from Newsday the minister, Stuart Young, said his ministry was not involved in the process.
In an e-mail sent to Newsday on Monday, Deosaran said a woman called him on the morning of December 30, saying she was calling from the Ministry of National Security, and asked him for a recommendation for one of the applicants for the three positions.
Deosaran said he told her any request for such a recommendation should be sent in writing, with specific criteria attached. He said up to Monday morning he had not received any such request.
Referring to the applicant in question as "Mr X," Deosaran said he wrote to National Security Minister Stuart Young asking if the call had been made by an official from his ministry and asked why the request for the recommendation had not been made in writing.
In his e-mail to Newsday, Deosaran said he was concerned the applicant might be disadvantaged if he did not give a recommendation.
Referring to a Newsday story of December 20, which reported that head of the Special Operations Response Team (SORT) Insp Mark Hernandez was among the candidates at the top of the list, Deosaran asked how the media had access to such information, when the process was incomplete. The story explained that candidates were selected by a local recruitment firm hired by the PSC.
"Whether a consultancy firm or the ministry involved in the process, the ultimate responsibility rests with the PSC who is required to submit the recommended list to the president for presentation to Parliament and debate," Deosaran wrote.
"This matter needs quick clarification and serious attention given the possible disadvantage to one of the DCP applicants, a very experienced and qualified professional."
Contacted for comment, Deosaran said he had not received any response from Young up to midday on Monday, and wondered why the ministry would be involved in the process, if the caller was in fact an employee.
He also urged the commission and other stakeholders to carry out their duties in a fair and balanced way.
"I would wish the PSC and all those involved in dealing with these important applications to follow the recent advice of the President, and that is to be efficient, transparent and accountable."
Newsday sent questions via e-mail to the PSC's assistant director of public education, who acknowledged receipt but did not give any answers up to press time.
Responding to Newsday's questions via WhatsApp, National Security Minister Stuart Young said he had not seen Deosaran's letter up to midday on Monday and said his ministry was not involved in the evaluation for the appointment of a DCP.
In 2018 then candidate for Commissioner of Police Wayne Hayde, through his attorney Fulton Wilson, complained to the PSC of breaches in confidentiality in the selection process.