Stephen Williams will go down in the history of Trinidad and Tobago as the greatest actor of all times.
He is not in line for an Oscar Award, but for getting nine six-month acting appointments as Commissioner of Police, he surely can beat Denzel Washington, Matt Damon, and others for a leading role.
Many feel it cannot be right for Williams to be acting as Commissioner of Police since July 2012 because of the system put in place by the then Patrick Manning Government. And despite the ranting and raving of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley at the PNM Convention on Sunday, it was the PNM Government which has the system in such a mess, making it difficult for the Police Service Commission (PSC) to appoint a Commissioner of Police.
And Williams is correct. After having him act for more than four years, he is going to apply for the position whenever it is advertised…..AGAIN. The preferred choice of this Government is Harold Phillip.
Williams returned to office on Tuesday after a three-month vacation, the PSC informed Williams, 55, that he has to continue acting duties.
“I am the senior ranked officer in the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, I proceeded on three-months vacation and resumed today. The Service Commission has given me an additional appointment of six months which they have done on eight previous occasions… so this is the ninth.”
Williams was nominated by the PSC for the top cop post back in 2007, when he first applied. Undeterred by yet another acting stint, Williams remains steadfast in his quest for the job and will apply for the position once more.
“I have publicly announced that you can’t be functioning in an office, then refuse to apply for the substantive position.
So I will apply whenever the opportunity arises, right now there is no such opportunity because they have not advertised the position as yet,” he said yesterday. In 2007, under the Patrick Manning administration, Williams, a lawyer and 47-year-old Senior Superintendent with 29 years service at the time, applied with then Deputy Commissioner of Police James Philbert and they were short-listed among five persons for the CoP post, along with three Americans.
Williams and Philbert were the two names on the Order of Merit List submitted by Penn State Safety and Justice Institute, the US firm contracted to interview and recommend nominees to the PSC. But then Police Commissioner Trevor Paul, who was to retire in November 2007, was given an extension pending the appointment of a new police chief.
Early in 2008, Williams who became the sole nominee, was rejected by the PNM Government and UNC Opposition who were not willing to give his nomination the required Parliamentary approval.
Both sides refused to support the nomination as they felt Williams, who then had spent nine years as a CID officer and was a respectable and intelligent man, was not seen a “crime buster.”
Under the Kamla Persad-Bissessar administration, Williams again applied for the post, but recruiters Penn State short-listed Canadian Dwayne Gibbs, who was appointed CoP, with another Canadian Jack Ewatski being appointed Deputy Commissioner, on approval by Parliament in September 2010. Both Canadians resigned in July 2012, amid low morale among the rank and file and public outcry about crime.