Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday said he was “very, very concerned” about the public unravelling of the Police Service Commission (PSC).
Asked about the unfolding public debacle involving the PSC and suspended acting Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith at the COVID-19 media conference at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, yesterday, Rowley said, “As head of the country and as a citizen, I am very, very concerned and I am attuned to the situation and more importantly, I am part of the situation because as head of the National Security Council, as head of the Government and as a Member of Parliament, I am in a very ticklish position, to use that parlance.”
He added, “Yes I am paying a lot of attention to it and I have great interest in it.”
The commission, headed by Bliss Seepersad, is tasked with the selection of the Commissioner of Police but in the past few days, the internal friction over a decision to suspend Griffith pending the outcome of an investigation into the operations of a department within the TTPS has been ventilated in the public domain.
One PSC commissioner, Courtney McNish, resigned on Monday just hours after an internal email thread was leaked to the media which showed that the three commissioners did not agree with the decision to suspend Griffith but the chairperson went ahead with the decision.
Asked if he saw a positive resolution to the matter ahead, the PM said, “I still have confidence that our institutional arrangements would eventually work us out of this situation and it would be adjudicated upon in the proper place, in the proper way and where errors would have been made, they would have been rectified without much more bacchanal.”
Rowley admitted that there has been some loss of confidence in the institution and likened the situation to a person being in a vehicle while a driver is distracted for a second and then rights himself.
“You start to wonder if he could drive at all or if you should be in the car at all,” Rowley said.
“But I do have confidence that we will work our way out of it relatively safely, but we won’t come out of it unscarred.”
Rowley said that he had “ignored” the assertion that there was political influence in the PSC, especially as those assertions came from the Opposition.
“There are 1.4 million persons in this country and the handful of people who have no moral authority to join this debate upfront is the Opposition,” he said.
Rowley said the Opposition leader has made a career of denigrating people, yet is trying to make this situation something that it is not.
“I can tell you, citizens, that it is not what it is being made out to be. There is no political interference driving this process, there is no conspiracy of any particular school. What it is, is a serious conflicting set of legal opinions at different locations of the country’s management and of course, if you have all these gears moving at the same time, it is not surprising that at a time like this, some of these gears would have been out of mesh,” he said.
“Most importantly though, you would have seen that the Government has conceded that an error has been made within the process and that having been identified, the Government will not hammer home a position based on a premise that the wrong process is the right process.”