The House of Representatives meets on Friday to debate the Police Service Commission’s (PSC) nomination of Deodat Dulalchan for the post of Commissioner of Police, and Harold Phillips for the post of Deputy Commissioner of Police.
The PSC submitted these two names recently to President Anthony Carmona, who then forwarded them to the Parliament for debate.
One thing is certain – Government, using its majority, will not approve the nomination of Dulalchan and it will be back to the PSC to select another candidate. How long this takes is another matter.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley tried to get a meeting with Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar at 3 pm on Thursday to discuss the matter, but Persad-Bisessar declined.
The Opposition is now calling for full disclosure on the material that was considered by the PSC in the selection of the two nominees for the positions of top cop and deputy.
Persad Bissessar turned down the Rowley’s request, instead telling him that the public interest requires that there be full disclosure by the Police Service Commission (PSC) in this matter.
Persad-Bissessar proposed to the Prime Minister that the Government and the Opposition should approach Carmona telling him that “the public interest requires that the Commission make full disclosure of all the material that was considered in the matter to both the Government and the Opposition in order for the Parliament to effectively discharge its duty in this matter.”
“Without full disclosure,” she said, any debate in the Parliament will be “futile.”
Three notices relating to the nominations of Dulalchan as Commissioner of Police, Deputy Commissioner of Police, the substantive post for which he applied, and Harold Phillips as Deputy Commissioner of Police are on the Order Paper for Friday’s sitting of Parliament.
Persad-Bissessar told the Prime Minister that she believed that “any meeting on this particular matter at this time will not be productive,” and trust that he would “see the wisdom of adopting these approaches,” which she had suggested.
The Opposition Leader said she had taken “careful note” of the reports in the media with respect to the process that was engaged by the PSC in arriving at the proposed nominees that were submitted to the President for the appointments to the positions of Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner.
She commended the media for “highlighting issues touching and concerning the process and the suitability of the proposed nominees in discharging its duty as the fourth estate.”
But she said the Opposition did not agree with the Prime Minister that “what is now awash” in the public domain “should be the catalyst for a meeting between the Government and the Opposition “on such an important matter to the democracy of our country.”
Using Rowley’s words, she said, there are many other matters “awash in the public domain” which are critical, “for example the bloodiest month in the history of our country, the Anti-Gang and Anti-Terrorism legislation and others that have not necessitated a meeting between the government and the Opposition.”