Lawyers representing former Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith have already written to the newly-installed chairman of the Police Service Commission, asking for an update on the merit list that was recalled in August. The lawyers are also asking when that list will be re-submitted to President Paula-Mae Weekes.
The new commissioners were installed yesterday and President Weekes has named retired Justice Judith Jones as the new chairman.
However, it is unclear whether the new commission will re-submit the August list or prepare its own merit list for submission to the President.
According to reports already in the public domain, back in August, the commission, then headed by Bliss Seepersad, produced a merit shortlist for the Commissioner’s position to the President. However, the list was recalled by Seepersad after an alleged meeting with a high-ranking Government official and within weeks, all members of the then-PSC resigned.
Hours after yesterday’s appointments were finalised, Griffith’s attorney, Larry Lalla, sent their letter calling for an update on that missing merit list and the reason for its withdrawal back in August.
“Firstly, I would like to obtain an urgent update from you as to the status of the merit list, since my client has a legitimate expectation that the said Merit List would be re-submitted to Her Excellency, the President,” Lalla said.
“Secondly, my client has serious concerns about the constitutionality and lawfulness of the withdrawal of the merit list on August 11, 2021.
“To date, Mr Griffith, as a candidate for the post of Commissioner of Police, has not been informed by the PSC of the reason why the completed Merit List was withdrawn or its present status.”
Lalla added, “We are of the view that on its face and without any or any proper explanation from the PSC as to the reason(s) why the submitted Merit Lst was subsequently withdrawn, the act of withdrawal was unconstitutional and unlawful,” Lalla said.
Lalla went through the sequence of events after Griffith’s three-year term came to an end and he re-applied for the CoP post, which included four assessments. The first assessment, he said, was an “in-basket exercise” which determines the ability to think and act at short notice, a case study segment to assess critical behavioural competencies, a presentation segment to assess the ability to communicate effectively and think quickly and a psychometric test.
Lalla said Griffith complied with all the assessments and then underwent a polygraph test.
Lalla said that by August 15, the PSC had informed Griffith that he maintained their confidence “as a person who was best fitted to hold the office of Commissioner of Police pending the completion of the process for selection of a new substantive Commissioner of Police.” Lalla said that it “appears that the PSC completed its preparation and work on the Merit List for appointment of a substantive Commissioner of Police” and was submitting it in accordance with the Constitution.
However, he said “for some yet-to-be-explained reason, the Merit List was withdrawn from the Office of the President on the same day.”