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‘Give me CoP job’
Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Deodat Dulalchan is calling upon Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and his Government to support his nomination for the post of Police Commissioner.
In a seven-page letter sent to Rowley yesterday, Dulalchan’s lawyer Kiel Taklalsingh made the call as he also sought to clarify several allegations over his client’s suitability to hold the post that arose after the Police Service Commission (PSC) selected the DCP as its preferred candidate earlier this year.
Referring to the recent exoneration of three public servants who were being probed in relation to a land-grabbing matter, Taklalsingh said: “Having therefore treated with and comprehensively debunked all allegations and issues in relation to our client, we trust that the Government which you lead will act appropriately consonant with the needs of the Police Service and society at large and therefore support our client’s nomination for the position of Commissioner of Police.”
Addressing the land grabbing allegations raised by four farmers from central Trinidad and highlighted by Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat in March, Taklalsingh pointed out that Rambharat and the Office of the Attorney General never responded to Dulalchan’s numerous requests to be apprised of the allegations and to be given an opportunity to respond.
The allegations related to a parcel of agricultural land at Chatoorie Street Extension, Felicity. The farmers claimed they were displaced by Dulalchan before he was granted permission to occupy the land last year. The land has since been seized by the ministry.
Taklalsingh noted that Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Angela Siew, Commissioner of State Lands Paula Drakes and her deputy Bhanmati Seecharan were suspended as the allegation was being investigated and have since been reinstated.
“The natural inference of this exoneration is that any allegation of impropriety by our client of illegally obtaining a licence to occupy certain lands no longer carries any weight for the purposes of public decision making and must be deemed devoid of merit,” he said.
Dealing next with a complaint made to the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) in 2011, Taklalsingh questioned the PCA’s delay in recommending disciplinary action to the PSC as it related to how it affected his client’s running for the CoP post.
“Despite the vintage of this purported investigation into an alleged incident from an unnamed source, the PCA’s pursuit of the investigation resurfaced and found renewed vigour only when our client was being considered for the position of Commissioner of Police,” Taklalsingh said.
Taklalsingh claimed the PCA also failed to give a substantive response to his client’s requests for information on the complaint. He pointed out that the PCA elected to forward its recommendation to the PSC without giving Dulalchan a hearing to put forward his version of the events.
Taklalsingh also sought to question the authority of the Special Select Committee of Parliament, which was appointed by Rowley in February to investigate the process of selection for the Police Commissioner and Deputies.
“It is a matter of record that these public hearings descended into a concerted attempt by some members of the committee to impeach, without any reasonable basis, the process adopted by the PSC which resulted in the nomination of our client to the post of Commissioner of Police,” Taklalsingh said.
He also pointed out that Dulalchan was denied the opportunity to appear before the committee and to make representations.
Noting that the PSC was the only body permitted under the Constitution to nominate candidates for the positions, Taklalsingh said: “At the end of the day, what remains unshaken is the fact that the PSC no doubt engaged in an assessment process which involved the sensitive weighing of information, impressions and qualifications; juxta-positioning same with the evolving needs of the priorities of the Police Service at this time, thereby lawfully nominating our client for the position of Commissioner of Police.”
Suggesting that there is an “undeniable” correlation between the crime situation and the absence of a substantive officer in the CoP post, Taklalsingh called on Rowley to address the situation urgently.
“Even further, the frustration of appointments to the top post with the Police Service is no doubt a lethal blow to the morale of the Police Service, which at this time craves leadership,” Taklalsingh added.
Dulalchan is also being represented by Jagdeo Singh, Dinesh Rambally, Vivek Lakhan-Joseph, Criston Williams and Stefan Ramkissoon.
After Trevor Paul retired as Commissioner of Police in 2008, James Philbert, who was the most senior officer in the service after Paul, was appointed to act in the role.
At that time, acting Deputy Commissioner Stephen Williams, who was the PSC’s nominee for CoP in 2008 after being recommended by Penn State, had been rejected by the PNM in Parliament.
In 2010, during a search under the People’s Partnership coalition, Parliament rejected Canadian Neal Parker for the post, citing that he had been part of the evaluation team for the selection of the commissioner in 2008.
The last appointed commissioner, Canadian Dwayne Gibbs was the second-rated nominee on Penn State’s evaluation.
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