THE Police Service Commission is hopeful that it will complete its selection process for a substantive commissioner of police by the end of January.
In November last year the PSC in a media release said it needed an additional month to complete the process and extended the deadline from December 31, 2022, to January 31.
Asked whether the commission was meeting its deadline, a PSC spokesperson said on Friday saying, “The Commission is in the final stages of the process, and it anticipates it will meet its deadline. The Commission is not in a position to give further information on the process.”
Some of the candidates were interviewed last week with more to be interviewed this week. Some of those interviewed last week were Snr Supt Anand Ramesar, former top cop Gary Griffith and retired DCP McDonald Jacob.
Jacob did not get any extension from government to return to office after his vaction ended on Friday.
Apart from them, acting top cop Erla Christopher, ACP Andre Norton, Lt Col Sheldon Ramanan, a former chief legal officer of the Defence Force; and Jason Francis, senior policy adviser at the UN’s Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean all made it to the final interview process that is expected to be completed by Wednesday.
The selection process for a top cop has been ongoing since 2021. The process was abandoned after the resignation of members of the PSC-led by Bliss Seepersad.
The resignations followed the unlawful suspension of Griffith and the withdrawal of a merit list submitted to the President of the top candidates for the job.
The merit list was withdrawn after Seepersad was given a confidential report by Prime Minister Dr Rowley which raised serious concern about the granting of firearm user's licences under Griffith's tenure.
Griffith was reported to have been the top nominee on that list.
A merit list completed by the Seepersad-led PSC was discarded by the current PSC in January last year and the process started afresh.
The rescinding of that list triggered a series of events beginning with the collapse of the Seepersad-led PSC, an attempt to impeach the President and lawsuits from Griffith and Ramesar.
The merit list was submitted to President Paula-Mae Weekes on August 11, 2021 and immediately withdrawn after the Prime Minister met with Seepersad at the President’s Office the same day and gave her a report into the operations of the Firearms Unit of the police service.
After a new PSC was installed, led by retired Appeal Court judge Judith Jones in November 2021, the PSC sought legal advice on whether to discard the previously compiled merit list. The advice received was to discard the old list and restart the process.
A week before advertising the post, the PSC introduced its Increasing Responsibility in Law Enforcement policy. The policy will be used to assess applicants' experience and focus on their ability to perform general duties. Some of those duties included managing and supervising front-line staff, middle management, senior management and executive.
The rescinding of the previous list triggered changes to the law governing the appointment of a commissioner and deputy commissoner which had to get approval of parliament even if the appointment was temporary.