President seeks to fill PCA vacancy, no response from PM, Opposition Leader

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President Paula-Mae Weekes. –

The Office of the President wrote to the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition last week seeking approval to fill the existing vacancy of deputy director of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA), but has not received any response.

The five-year term of former deputy director Michelle Solomon-Baksh ended on June 28.

There was no response to WhatsApp questions sent to Dr Rowley, Minister in the Office the Prime Minister Stuart Young, Communications Minister Symon de Nobriga, and a text message sent to the Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar seeking comment on the existing vacancy and the potential effect on the work of the PCA.

The authority’s director, David West, would only say the matter was being addressed.

The role of the PCA has shot into the public spotlight over an increasing number of fatal police shootings, and allegations of serious police misconduct.

On Saturday, two teenagers and a young man were killed by police after the car they were travelling in crashed into a bank along Independence Square, Port of Spain.

In an unrelated incident, police shot and killed Tristian “Ratty” Springer, 24, at Cipriani Avenue, Second Caledonia, Morvant.

Sources at the PCA said investigators are investigating both incidents and are hopeful acting Prime Minister Colm Imbert makes the recommendation to the Opposition before the end of the week.

They said mechanisms have been put in place to gather evidence until the deputy director is appointed.

According to the PCA Act, the authority shall comprise a director and a deputy director appointed by the President on “the joint advice” of the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition.

In the event that both parties cannot agree on a candidate, it is open to the President to appoint an office-holder for both the positions after consultation with the PM and Opposition Leader.

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