Why was this announcement made by the Prime Minister and not the Police Service Commission? Why was this even a Cabinet discussion for that matter? Section 123. (1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago clearly states that - “Power to appoint persons to hold or act in an office in the Police Service established under the Police Service Act, including appointments on promotion and transfer and the confirmation of appointments, and to remove and exercise disciplinary control over persons holding or acting in such offices and to enforce standards of conduct on such officers shall vest in the Police Service Commission.”
Section 122. (1) states - “There shall be a Police Service Commission for Trinidad and Tobago which shall consist of a Chairman and four other members.” Where was the Police Service Commission Chairman when this announcement was made? Surely what was most required for the maintenance of morale and order in the police service was as smooth a transfer of power as is possible, under terms and guidelines previously established and that have been the practice and the norm over the life of the nation. Why the deviation?
Section 122 (4) goes on to clarify - “The members of the Police Service Commission shall hold office in accordance with section 126.” and section 126. clearly states - “(1) A person who- (a) is a member of the House of Representatives or the Senate; or (b) holds or is acting in any public office or has held any public office within the period of three years preceding his proposed appointment, is not qualified to hold the office of member of a Service Commission.
Section 2. clearly states - “This Constitution is the supreme law of Trinidad and Tobago, and any other law that is inconsistent with this Constitution is void to the extent of the inconsistency.” So if the Supreme Law of the Republic does not recognize him in any role or capacity here, and if he cannot speak on behalf of the Police Service Commission and he has no authority to appoint or fire police officers, on whose authority does Minister of National Security Jack Warner speak and act where the service is concerned?
What about the person who is next appointed Commissioner? Regardless of how unblemished the career of the candidate and how unimpeachable his character, to the public, especially those who do not hold this government in any esteem, how can that person escape being painted as anything but Jack's man at the helm of the police service?
No matter where you stand in the social or political spectrum, public respect for the Offices of State is of absolute importance for the maintenance of social order. Clearly we need to find a way out of this morass before the situation deteriorates further. Westminster convention requires that a failure of this magnitude be placed squarely at the feet of the line Minister. As if we needed any further evidence of this, Jack Warner is at best a loose canon and is unfit for the Office he holds. He should be made to resign immediately or be removed before further damage is done.