Hinds welcomes Appeal Court’s ruling on Erla’s tenure as CoP

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Hinds welcomes Appeal Court’s ruling on Erla’s tenure as CoP

National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds has welcomed the Appeal Court’s ruling to a recent challenge relating to Erla Harewood-Christopher’s tenure as Police Commissioner.

On Wednesday, the Court dismissed an appeal over Government’s move to extend Harewood-Christopher’s term by a year before reaching the retirement age last year.

Section 75 of the Police Service Act allows the President to extend the term of a first division officer who is due to retire, if it is in the national interest to do so.

Police officers can also receive two further one-year extensions based on annual performance reviews.

The Court’s ruling now clears the way for Cabinet to decide whether to extend Mrs Harewood-Christopher’s term by another year before her birthday next week.

Mr Hinds welcomed the ruling during a very brief media conference yesterday, saying the legal challenge launched against the decision to extend the contract of CoP) was frivolous.

Hinds said, “I take great comfort that this legal challenge to the exercise of the powers under section 75 of the Police Act was found by a court, after due contemplation, to have been frivolous and, in my view, vexatious and one of many like it.”

“The decision as to what was in the national interest is quintessentially an executive function which Cabinet is best placed to assess.”

He said, “So the court is saying that is not their business. What is in the national interest is a matter for the Cabinet. But insofar as the extension of service is concerned, the law provides for that, and it is within the President’s power to treat with it once the recommendation came from the Cabinet, as it did.”

Hinds said the challenge was part of an attack on the state by a group of lawyers and accused them of using Balgobin-Maharaj as a proxy.

“There has developed in TT a group of lawyers, some of them wearing other hats, challenging the state on every turn in the courthouse.

“There’s a young man who they use by the name of Ravi Balgobin. He is the virtual complainer, so to speak. But of course, he is supported by some of the most able lawyers in TT.”