Police union pledges to support Police Commissioner

President of the Police Service Social and Welfare Association Gideon Dickson. - File photo
President of the Police Service Social and Welfare Association Gideon Dickson. - File photo

WHILE acknowledging that the job of police commissioner will be no easy task, the Police Social and Welfare Association (PSWA) has congratulated Commissioner of Police Erla Harewood-Christopher (CoP) on Cabinet's decision to extend her tenure for another year.

On May 13, the Office of the Prime Minister issue a statement in which it confirmed that Cabinet had advised President Christine Carla Kangaloo, under section 75(a) of the Police Service Act, to extend the CoP's service for a period of one year, with effect from May 15.

The decision comes one day before Harewood-Christopher’s tenure would have ended at midnight on May 14.

She was confirmed as CoP by Parliament on February 3, 2023. Government then extended Harewood-Christopher’s service by a year after she reached the usual police retirement age of 60 on May 15, 2023.

On May 13, PSWA head Insp Gideon Dickson pledged the association’s support for Harewood-Christopher for the next year.

“The association congratulates the CoP on her extension. We know it is not an easy job, and the association will continue to give her as much support towards the organisation achieving its strategic goal and assisting in making Trinidad and Tobago a safer place.”

Earlier on May 13, before Harewood-Christopher's extension was announced, Newsday asked Dickson about his union's relationship with the CoP.

He said “It has improved over time.”

Asked if he felt comfortable with the current state of the relationship he added, “There is always room for improvement.”

Former police commissioner now turned politician, Gary Griffith, in an immediate statement, said he was not surprised by the extension.

In a tongue-in-cheek response, Griffith, compared her performance in the last year with that of the National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds and the National Security Council which is chaired by the Prime Minister.

He said, “I think the extension of Erla is expected, and maybe even appropriate. Any independent office holder that shows competence, success, and popularity above that of this Government, is deemed as a threat.

“Remember, Erla when measured in performance and competence by international experts, could not place in the top 15 of those who applied for CoP or deputy CoP.

“Based on her performance and competence, or lack of, in the last year, it is indeed most appropriate for her extension, as her standard equates with that of the Security Minister and Chair of the National Security Council. So, in terms of competence, accountability and performance, birds of a feather...

“You cannot appoint a James Bond or a Rambo to work with the Mr Bean and Tommy Joseph of TT National Security. So, her extension fits in perfectly,” Griffith said.

(With reporting by Gregory McBurnie.)

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