About turn for the Government …”DEBATE FOR NEW TOP COP”

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Tuesday’s walkout from the Parliament by Chaguanas West MP, Ganga Singh, may have prompted the Government to change its mind over the notification sent by the President for the appointment of a Commissioner of Police.

Singh got real vex when the Speaker of the House, Bridgid Annisette-George called on him to withdraw a statement. Singh refused and he left the Chamber. Government, through Camille Robinson-Regis, informed the Clerk of the House that the debate for the Commissioner of Police would not be held.

Well, 24 hours later, Government made an about turn.

Government changed its mind and agreed to debate the new notification for nomination of Harold Phillip for the post of Commissioner of Police after the Police Service Commission (PSC) cited several reasons why the matter should be debated. That will take place next Monday.

The turnabout came after Government perused recent information from PSC chairman, Bliss Seepersad, on the notification of Philip’s nomination.

Seepersad pointed out that according to regulations (Legal Notice 218 of 2015 ) which governs the process, the second-ranked candidate on the Merit List is nominated for the post of Commissioner of Police if the first is not accepted.

Philip was the second-ranked after Deodat Dulalchan who was nominated for Commissioner. The notification of Dulalchan’s nomination was rejected by Government which said the PSC’s process was flawed.

In that debate also, Government rejected the notification of nomination regarding Philip for deputy Commisisoner. Government said the process had to be reviewed.

On Tuesday, Robinson-Regis said Parliament determined that the PSC’s process in this matter was lacking in transparency and that one can come to no other conclusion than the Commission did a job which cannot be explained and which was wholly unreliable.

Robinson-Regis said any recommendations from that flawed process cannot and will not be accepted and she had instructed the Clerk this matter will not be proceeded with.

Seepersad said the PSC’s new notification of nomination regarding Phillip was dated July 2. The information prompted Government’s move to debate the nomination next Monday.

In response, Singh said, the Leader of Government Business “clearly erred in seeking to instruct the Clerk of the House not to proceed with the notification from the President, that’s why I spoke out against the subversion of the Constitution and usurping of Parliament’s power to debate the process. The Speaker also erred in allowing an impermissible intrusion on Parliament’s role in this matter.

“Their action created gridlock between the constitutionally entrenched PSC, the President and Parliament. It demonstrates Government’s incompetence and insidious attempts to stymie democracy and strongarm the Parliament’s processes. The Speaker attempted to give me a red card when the foul was really committed by Government. It is clear, democracy requires eternal vigilance.”

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