Mixed views on CoP's extension among Port of Spain pedestrians

Commissioner of Police 
Erla Harewood-Christopher -
Commissioner of Police Erla Harewood-Christopher -

PORT of Spain pedestrians shared mixed views on the performance of Police Commissioner Erla Harewood-Christopher hours before government announced another one-year extension to her tenure on May 13.

Later, the Office of the Prime Minister confirmed Cabinet had advised President Christine Carla Kangaloo, under section 75(a) of the Police Service Act, to extend Harewood-Christopher's service for a period of one year, with effect from May 15, 2024.

The act allows for Harewood-Christopher's service to be extended by a third year in 2025.

The decision comes one day before Harewood-Christopher’s tenure would have ended at midnight on May 14 after it was initially extended by a year after she reached the normal police retirement age of 60 on May 15, 2023. She was confirmed as CoP by Parliament on February 3, 2023.

Earlier on May 13, Newsday polled pedestrians in Port of Spain and two people said they believed Harewood-Christopher should get an extension.

Kevina said, “She should be given the extension. I have no issues with her in the post.”

A man added he believed she should be given more time to implement her vision.

“I think they could give her another go at it. She needs a little more time.”

The majority of respondents though said they were not in favour of her tenure being extended further, with one woman instantly saying, “Hell No!”

She added, “She hasn’t done a good enough job and is like a puppet on a string. She is a waste of time!”

Another woman said Harewood-Christopher had not done enough of a good job to warrant an extension.

A man walking with her added, “Where are the results? (The results) don’t support her reapplying or being given a contract extension.”

A woman who identified herself as Lucy said she was not in support of Harewood-Christopher’s time in office being extended as she did not believe the CoP deserved it.

“She has not been upfront with the public. She should have been more visible but instead she seems to be hiding from public.”

A man meanwhile said, “Erla needs to buss out! The country is in a mess with safety and security.”

His colleague Sasha agreed and said she thought it was time the government “tries somebody else...

“Everyone brings unique experience expertise and knowledge to the job. Let someone else try and see what they can do.”

She said the decision to reduce the number of firearm user licences (FUL) had left her less confident in Harewood-Christopher’s decision-making abilities.

“With all the home invasions and crime, this is not the time to slow down on FUL distribution.”

A woman walking with her child said she believed it was “time for a change” as crime in Trinidad and Tobago had been getting worse.

Some people were indifferent to her being given a contract extension with one man saying, “To be quite honest it is not affecting me in any way. I don’t really care.”

He pointed to her lack of visibility however as an issue and said there is little information about what the police is doing to keep people safe.

A man named Andre said it was “neither here nor there if she reapplies.”

“The crime rate is more than before. She did things but it didn’t make much difference.”

Earlier in Parliament, during the urgent questions segment of the House of Representatives, Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh asked Armour whether “Cabinet has advised the President to invoke Section 75 of the Police Service Act as it relates to a further extension of her continuing in the said office?”

Armour responded, “A decision will be taken on this matter not later than tomorrow. (Tuesday).”

Indarsingh then asked if the cabinet intended to advise the president to allow Harewood-Christopher to continue in the employ of the TT Police Service (TTPS) in keeping with section 75 of the Police Service Act.

He also asked, “Given that the CoP has the responsibility of being the accounting officer in the TTPS, could the AG advise this house what measures are being put in place to avoid a crisis in the TTPS where the Minister of Finance may be called upon to appoint a public servant as the accounting officer in the TTPS?

House Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George ruled Indarsingh’s both questions “out of order.”


"Mixed views on CoP’s extension among Port of Spain pedestrians"

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