Thane: T&T heading to ‘national security predicament’; why PSC’s behaviour is untenable and dangerous

At a time when the country needs strong institutions to uphold the principles of our democracy, the deafening silence of the Police Service Commission is untenable and simply inimical to the public interest. 

In the midst of what can quite easily escalate into a full-blown national security predicament, the PSC must account to the citizenry for its handling or mishandling of the transition of the Office of Commissioner of Police from the 18 August 2021.

Photo: Police Service Commission (PSC) chair Bliss Seepersad (left) presents Gary Griffith with his letter of appointment as police commissioner on Friday 3 August 2018.
(via TTPS)

It has been four weeks and we have not had the courtesy of an explanation from the PSC and this can only be indicative of its incompetence, arrogance or a combination of the two. 

What we as citizens will not accept is an attempt to mystify, what is–or ought to have been–a simple transition and continuation of an established constitutional office. 

Since 1976, the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service has transitioned over 10 police commissioners and countless acting commissioners of police. 

Granted, this is the first time we have seen a contracted police officer as commissioner of police through to a full term, but there are well-established procedures and protocols that guide the contractual arrangements in the Public Service. 

Photo: Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds (left) and former Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith.
(via TTPS)

The conduct of the PSC is disrespectful to the Office of the Commissioner of Police, the Police Service and to the country. At any given time, there must be a clear and definitive command structure in the Police Service. 

To create and/or to allow a cloud of uncertainty over the legitimacy of the person sitting in the Office of the Commissioner is not only disrespectful to the individual and to the office, it is dangerous. And the scant courtesy shown to the former commissioner of police to the extent that he is expressing publicly concerns about his ‘tenure’ while alluding  to actions which can be perceived as political interference while the PSC remains silent is highly unacceptable. 

Where is the PSC?

The PSC has a duty to protect the integrity of the institution. The Police Service Commission must account to the citizens and it can start by providing answers to these questions:

Photo: Police Service Commissioner (PSC) chair Bliss Seepersad.
  1. On what basis was the former commissioner of police appointed acting commissioner of police ?
  2. When did the ‘acting appointment’ begin and when does it end?
  3. Are there any documented contractual arrangements governing this ‘acting appointment’; if so, what are they?
  4. Having regard to the information that the former commissioner of police’s contract ended on 17 August 2021, what category of ‘leave’ was granted to him during the month of September 2021?
  5. If the ‘acting commissioner of police’ is on leave, is he still the acting commissioner of police?
  6. If he is not the acting commissioner of police when on leave, is he a police officer? If so, what is his rank?
  7. If he continues to be the acting commissioner of police when on leave, are there then two acting commissioners of police?
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  1. We cannot run even a Lilliputian country we need the colonials to come back

  2. I feel you have to be bright like Shakespeare to give proper answers to Thane’s questions.

    And here is another that he (perhaps deliberately) omitted: “Is this a dagger I see before me, the handle toward my hand?”

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