PSC seeks to appoint new acting DCP

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FILE PHOTO: Police Admin Building Sackville Street, Port of Spain.

THE Police Service Commission (PSC) wants to fill the vacant position of deputy commissioner of police (DCP) and has recommended former head of the Professional Standards Bureau Ramnarine Samaroo.

A notice laid in Parliament on Tuesday stated that President Paula-Mae Weekes, acting on the recommendations of the PSC, has nominated Samaroo to act as DCP.

Currently, there are two acting DCPs – Erla Christopher and Wendell Williams – assisting acting Commissioner of Police McDonald Jacob to lead the police service. Last month, ACP Joanne Archie, who was assigned the portfolio of deputy commissioner in charge of Operations, retired, leaving a vacancy for deputy commissioner.

Jacob is the only substantive deputy commissioner of police approved by Parliament last year and has been leading the service since December, after the collapse of the previous PSC over allegations of political interference in the quashing of a merit list which recommended Gary Griffith as the leading candidate for the job of police commissioner.

On June 30, the PSC closed off applications for the post of CoP and its chairman retired judge Judith Jones anticipates a substantive officer holder will be appointed by the end of the year.

Griffith on Saturday said he had reapplied for the job even though the Prime Minister had complained to the PSC that he lost all confidence in Griffith, over public comments and WhatsApp messages concerning the enforcement of public health regulations in March 2020.

Griffith a former UNC minister of national security was appointed CoP in 2018 for three years and was re-appointed to act last September, after Cabinet and Parliament approved a law to allow a former contract officer to act at top cop.

The spectacular collapse of the PSC after Griffith was illegally suspended after Dr Rowley met with then PSC chairman Bliss Seepersad in the face of allegations of misconduct in the granting of hundreds of firearm licences and the merit list was withdrawn from the Office of the President on August 12.

The last time the post was advertised, Griffith was one of seven applicants shortlisted. They included acting DCPs Christopher and Williams; ACPs Yusuff Gaffar and Andre Norton; Lt Col Sheldon Ramnanan, a former chief legal officer of the Defence Force; and Jason Francis, senior policy adviser at the UN’s Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Jacob said last Friday he was not ready to say if he had applied for the job.

The new applicants must have a master’s degree in law, criminology, police service management and criminal justice with at least 15 years’ experience of increasing responsibility in law enforcement.

The new process does not remove the veto power of Parliament in selecting the Police Commissioner.

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