THE Prime Minister thanked retired Justice of Appeal Judith Jones, Maxine Attong, Ian Kevin Ramdhanie, Maxine King and Rajiv Persad for their willingness to serve as members of the new Police Service Commission (PSC). Dr Rowley expressed his full confidence in them as he opened debate on a motion in the House of Representatives on Wednesday to approve their nominations to be appointed as PSC members.
The motion said Section 122 (3) of the Constitution permits the President to nominate people to become members of the PSC after consultation with the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader. The motion adds that they must be qualified and experienced in the disciplines of law, finance, sociology or management to be PSC members.
Rowley reminded MPs that he assured the population "that as soon as the President would have done what was required by law as I just described, the Government will move expeditiously to ensure that this situation be resolved by the appointment...or by the Parliament treating with the President's notifications.'
He said, "That is precisely what we are doing here today." Rowley recalled receiving letters on October 12 from President Paula-Mae Weekes, regarding the notifications of Jones and Attong to be PSC members. Rowley had a brief faux pas, when he said on October 15, the President wrote him on the notification of "Ian Kevin Ramnarine". When he was told about his mistake, Rowley quickly corrected himself. "My apologies..Ramdhanie...not Ramnarine." Kevin Ramnarine was a former energy minister in the former UNC-led People's Partnership coalition government.
On October 20 and 29, Rowley said Weekes informed him of the notifications of King and Persad respectively. Recalling similar consultations he has had as prime minister and previously as opposition leader, Rowley said," I have made it my priority that I respond to the President as required by the Constitution, when I am consulted on matters of this nature."
He said, "A finer crop of qualified persons could hardly have been advanced for the service of on this commission...bringing these skills and experience to offer public service." Rowley said the five nominees were offering themselves for national service at a time when most people, especially those who are comfortably placed, are reluctant to do so. He said this was because these people were afraid "of being pilloried, simply because they have agreed to provide public service within the confines of their skills and experience.
Rowley said the tedious arrangements required for people to qualify to serve in public positions or this type of service being viewed as a thankless job, were other reasons why people are reluctant to serve. "I am grateful that these five people agreed to take the responsibility for providing the country, at the level of the PSC, with the management and the skills that are required to ensure that there is a functioning PSC."
He told MPs the motion to approve the five nominations is not a substantive one. Rowley said the nominees are not in Parliament and cannot defend themselves against any allegation or accusation, frivolous or otherwise, against them.
He cited Jones' tenure as Court of Appeal justice from June 2015 to September 2020, Attong's experience in accounting and organisational development, Ramdhanie's experience in sociology, King's expertise in business administration and Persad's tenure as an seasoned attorney and former Law Association president, as some of the reasons why they satisfied the requirements to serve on the PSC.
"I have every confidence that they will bring the quality of their qualifications and experience to bear, on any and all issues concerning the PSC."