Acting Attorney General, Stuart Young expressed that former national security minister Gary Griffith’s status as a witness in a case against former attorney general Anand Ramlogan does not debar him from being appointed the next Commissioner of Police (CoP).
Leader of Government Business Camille Robinson-Regis yesterday said she received a notification from President Paula-Mae Weekes of the Police Service Commission (PSC)’s nomination of Griffith as CoP. She said the House will sit on Monday at 1.30 pm to debate the nomination.
Young said: “We are following the process of law, the Constitution and the particular order for the appointment of CoP.”
While Robinson-Regis previously said the selection process used by the PSC was flawed, Young said one needed to carefully examine what happened from the first meeting of the Special Select Committee (SSC), appointed to examine the process, to debate on the nominations of Deodat Dulalchan, Harold Phillip and Stephen Williams to clearly identify “what the issues and what the difficulties were with the process and procedure.”
The SSC’s report had stated that having regard to its observations/findings, the SSC considered “that in many respects the manner in which the entire process was conducted by the PSC was defective and unreliable and may expose the PSC to allegations of arbitrariness and lack of transparency.”
However, another SSC member, UNC MP Ganga Singh, said the SSC didn’t find anything illegal.
Another SSC member, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh, agreed members had signed off on the report and “….on Monday any questions will be answered.”
Young said, “It did not rule out the order of merit list.”
Saying the law is “very, very clear” about the legitimacy of the list, he said, “The procedure set out is that a name comes forward. It is up to the majority of Parliament to say yea or nay and to go through the list as has happened in the past.”
Young made it clear that any person who is still on the list can be chosen as CoP.
On Griffith being involved in the witness-tampering case which Police Complaints Authority director David West brought against Ramlogan, Young said, “I don’t see that as precluding him at all.”
He added, “In fact, if it’s anything, it might be an endorsement on his character that he was fearless and ready to stand up for the truth at a particularly difficult time.”
Griffith and Ramlogan were fired in February 2015 by then prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar after West made his complaint to the police against Ramlogan.
Griffith claimed he was pressured by his former Cabinet colleagues not to support West’s complaint. Persad-Bissessar also called for West to resign.
On the Police Social and Welfare Association saying it will not work with Griffith if he is appointed, Young said, “ I think it is wrong to take an attitude up front that they are not going to work with any particular person unless there is a very, very good reason.
“I think they are anticipating a lot if Mr Griffith is selected as the CoP.”
Young hoped as a citizen that the members of the Police Service “would do what is right for the country and work with who is decided as the next CoP.”
UNC’s Rushton Paray said, “I don’t know him personally but I’ve experienced his National Security work over 2013-14 when I saw the most amount of police in my area. Whether he’s confirmed or not, it’ll be an exciting time. I look forward to whoever’s chosen dealing with the crime situation.”
UNC’s Rudy Indarsingh said, “Gary is a competent person having served in the Defence Force.”
Young urged reporters to “wait on Monday to see what Parliament decides.”