Wade Mark: Is Erla Christopher the next CoP?

Acting Commissioner of Police Erla Christopher. -
Acting Commissioner of Police Erla Christopher. -

OPPOSITION Senator Wade Mark questioned whether acting Commissioner of Police Erla Christopher has been handpicked by the Government to become the substantive CoP, after acting CoP Mc Donald Jacob's contract was not renewed.

Mark asked the question during a news conference at the Opposition Leader's Office in Charles Street on Sunday.

On Saturday, Jacob said goodbye to the rank and file of the police service in a WhatsApp message to heads and commanding officers. The message was shared with other officers.

Jacob was appointed a deputy commissioner of police (DCP) in April 2021 by a contract for three years but the Police Service Commission subsequently determined the contract was null and void on the basis that he was still a serving officer, on leave, when he was recruited. He was then given an extension in office under Section 75 of the Police Service Act which had to be evaluated every 12 months before it is extended. Jacob celebrated his 61st birthday on Saturday. He had been on vacation since the first week of December, 2022.

In his place, acting DCP Christopher was appointed.

Christopher faces a similar position as she turns 60 in May and will need Cabinet's approval to remain in the service beyond that.

Newsday was told Jacob was contemplating seeking legal redress if his term as DCP was cut short because of Cabinet’s inaction to extend his tenure.

Legal sources said he will be claiming for the remaining 15 months of his contract as DCP.

Opposition Senator Wade Mark. -

Mark noted a recent statement by the Police Service Commission (PSC) that it hopes to complete the selection process for a substantive CoP by the end of January.

He wondered if it was a foregone conclusion that Christopher would be selected as CoP whenever the relevant notification from the President goes to the House of Representatives.

He called on the PSC to “come clean” and tender its resignations if Christopher becomes CoP.

Mark was concerned that Christopher could become a "PNM political foot stool" and be used by the PNM to target its political opponents.

He said the UNC warned Jacob about getting too close to politicians.

"They are like fleas. They will bite you."

Mark also wondered if Jacob's contract was not renewed for publicly talking about scanners at the Port of Spain port not being operational.

Jacob, former CoP Gary Griffith, Christopher and Snr Sup Anand Ramesar were interviewed by the PSC last week as candidates for CoP.

Referring to the events which led to the collapse of the Bliss Seepersad-led PSC in August 2022, Mark asked whether this has anything to do with President Paula-Mae Weekes demitting office in March.

He said the UNC cannot find any public record of Weekes only promising to serve one five-year term in office when she was appointed on March 19, 2018.

Mark called on the Prime Minister and Weekes "to come clean."

Naparima MP Rodney Charles scoffed at President-elect Christine Kangaloo's promise on January 20 to serve with impartiality when she assumes office on March 21.

He said she is "a 61 year devotee of the PNM." Charles reiterated the UNC's claims of Kangaloo's unsuitability as President.

Oropouche West MP Davendranath Tancoo claimed Government is transferring $842 million between different heads of expenditure in the 2022/2023 budget and no one knows what that money is being used for.

The House sat on Monday to debate a motion to approve a report of its Standing Finance Committee to increase budgetary allocations to the Energy Ministry and Foreign and Caricom Affairs Ministry.


"Wade Mark: Is Erla Christopher the next CoP?"

More in this section