Dickson opposes Opposition’s reasoning for rejecting Constitution Amendment bill

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Dickson opposes Opposition’s reasoning for rejecting Constitution Amendment bill

A “travesty!”
That’s the way Trinidad and Tobago Police Service Social & Welfare Association (TTPSSWA) head, ASP Gideon Dickson, described the Opposition’s rejection of the Constitution Amendment bill, which would have allowed persons to be appointed as acting commissioners without Parliamentary approval.

The bill sought to allow the Police Service Commission (PolSC) to appoint acting commissioners without the approval of the House of Representatives.

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar SC said the Bill, which needed a 2/3 Special Majority, omitted transparency and accountability in the selection of an Acting COP and Acting Deputy COP by removing Parliamentary oversight.

Dickson firmly opposed the Opposition’s reasoning and insisted that the appointment of an acting police commissioner should happen away from Parliament.

He argued that while the PolSC has been entrusted to appoint a commissioner of police, they should also be entrusted to appoint someone on a temporary basis.

“We cannot say the PolSC is an independent body that deals with the selection of a commissioner and then when it’s time to appoint, they are not afforded the opportunity to appoint the person who would have gone through the process to be appointed,” Dickson said.

“If the PolSC, as independent as they are, saying it’s independent to get the best person and when they submit the best person, it appears if the Parliament don’t like you or if the Parliament has some issue with you, then you can be rejected. That is wasting taxpayers’ money and is playing politics with the TTPS.”

Dickson said acting appointments for the leadership of other branches of the protective services (Defence Force, Fire Service, Prisons Service) were not brought to Parliament for debate and said he saw no reason for it to be done with the TTPS.