Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 4th 2014 Contents A5
Tuesday, November 4, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
President Anthony Carmona s inability
to fill top posts in the Police Service Com-
mission (PSC), Police Complaints Authority
(PCA) and the Integrity Commission (IC)
is having a grave impact on the fight against
crime and corruption.
So said secretary of the Police Service Social
and Welfare Association Sgt Michael Seales,
as he called on Carmona to move post-haste
to fill the vacancies.
Seales said: "The failure to select a chair-
man of the Police Service Commission has
serious administrative consequences. The
Commissioner of Police cannot go on vacation
leave. The commission is unable to monitor
and assess his performance in the absence
of a chairman of the PSC.
"It has also stymied appeals to the com-
mission based on promotion and discipline."
Saying some police officers are being denied
due process in cases of dismissal because
they had no access to the Police Service
Appeal Tribunal, Seales pointed out that the
recruitment of senior officers was also being
He added: "At this moment, they cannot
recruit a commissioner or deputy commis-
sioner of police, so essentially the absence
of the commission chairman has crippled
the Police Service in terms of its adminis-
"This has a ripple effect on the crime fight
and issues of accountability and transparency
were also affected because there was no direc-
tor of the Police Complaints Authority.
"The investigatory capacity of the PCA is
affected gravely because some powers are
inherent to the director and are not delegated
to any subordinate person. As such, many
complaints lodged by members of the public
hang in limbo."
Up to mid-2014, there were 26 police
killings, of which 19 were being monitored
by the PCA. Of those 19 killings, eight were
in the North Eastern Division and six in Cen-
JENSEN LA VENDE
Police and members of the Regiment
spent close to half of yesterday searching
a thickly forested area in Brasso Seco
in the hopes of finding a missing family.
It has been a week since Irma Ram-
persad disappeared along with her grand-
child and two of her daughters.
Yesterday the searchers began at 4.30
am, trekking through mostly uncharted
parts of the forest.
Police, led by a "person of interest",
set off from behind the family s Bleu
Road, Brasso Seco, Paria, home with
shovels, pitchforks and a cadaver dog,
The T&T Guardian was told the digging
tools were "just in case" they came across
anything resembling a shallow grave.
But when the searchers came out by
3.50 pm, all they had discovered was new
routes in and out the forested area.
One of Rampersad s daughters, Nicole
Gonzales, told the media last Friday she
had last spoken with her mother on Octo-
ber 27, when Rampersad said she was
taking Gonzales sister, Felicia, 17, a student
of the Malabar Secondary School, to the
Arima Health Facility.
Checks there by relatives revealed they
never made it. Gonzales added that her
sister, Jenelle, 19, would also never leave
home with her one-year-old child, Shania
Amoroso, without packing a baby bag
for her, and since all the child s belongings
were still home, she believes the family
have been abducted.
Following the murder of Phillip Nor-
eiga, 31, in the area on August 4, Gonzales
said her mother had been receiving
threats from people who believed she
had seen something and was not forth-
coming with the information.
Speaking with the media at a makeshift
base camp yesterday, ASP Curt Simon
of the Homicide Bureau said they were
seeking the assistance of a 52-year-old
hunter from the area, but denied he too
was missing with the family, as was
Simon said the search had been ham-
pered by extremely low radio connectivity
and even the police radios were not work-
ing as expected.
Simon said the search party were "like
boy scouts" and wanted to be prepared
for anything when he was asked about
the shovel and pitchfork being taken into
He added that the search party, which
included members of the Homicide
Bureau, North Eastern Division Task
Force, Anti-Kidnapping Squad, K-9 Unit,
Regiment and the Blanchisseuse police,
were "prepared for the worst, while hop-
ing for the best."
Simon said there were several rumours
surrounding the disappearance of the
family but the police were not concerned
He would not give an indication as to
when the search for the missing family
would become a search for their bodies,
although he admitted: "We are more con-
cerned as each hour passes."
fight in limbo
No new commissioners yet so...
for missing four
Police officers return empty-handed after day two of their search for missing
members of the Rampersad family in a forested area off Brasso Seco yesterday.
PHOTO: JEFF MAYERS
Why are the posts vacant?
In an interview, Senior Counsel Martin
Daly said too many people were uninterested
in taking up these presidential appointments
because of the negative backlash they faced
from politicians and the wider public.
Daly, a former Independent Senator, said
the lack of appointments was having a serious
negative impact on how the country was gov-
erned. People might be more inclined to take
up posts as commissioners, he felt, if they
were assured confidentiality in their affairs.
"I query whether the requirement for dis-
closure to the Integrity Commission is not
more than a hindrance than a help," Daly
said, when asked why people were reluctant
to accept posts.
He explained: "I don t think honest people
have a problem, or need the stimulation of
filing declarations with the Integrity Com-
mission to remain honest.
"People have genuine concerns about the
confidentiality of information they supply.
"This is not intended as a criticism of the
Integrity Commission. My suggestion is in
relation to these presidential appointments.
There may be a case for exempting them
from having to comply with the Integrity in
Public Life Act."
He said another hindrance was the very
personal nature of the attacks that were made
He added: "No one expects to be above
criticism but it has become standard practice
to make criticisms of these people not just
by politicians alone.
"For example, there is great controversy
on the ads that are printed because nobody
is owning up to them," he added, in a reference
to a series of media advertisements placed
by a group known only as "Citizens 4D High-
He said: "I don t know if all of them will
put their business in a filing cabinet in some-
ones s office. The whole climate has to
Former head of the Public Service Reginald
Dumas also agreed negative publicity was a
hindrance to those wanting to serve.
He did not think, however, that the Pres-
ident should place advertisements or hire a
professional agency to recruit candidates for
Dumas added: "While I accept that he has
a problem to fill these posts, I do not agree
that he has to do so openly. I believe he must
consult but he has to do so quietly.
"There are a lot of vacancies on the com-
missions and if these vacancies are not filled
with people whose reputations can stand up
to scrutiny, then there is a problem."
Saying he was not trying to blame the
President, Dumas explained: "People are
backing away from these commissions
because they have come under the political
and public gun.
"The commissions have come under neg-
ative scrutiny over time. A lot of people are
shying away because they feel that these
commissions are tainted.
"It is a fair assessment and I can under-
stand why they would shy away."
He disagreed with Daly over the declaration
of assets, saying that anyone who wants to
serve on a commission must be prepared to
Spokesman for the Office of the President
Theron Boodan was in a meeting when the
T&T Guardian called him, and did not answer
questions on how the President was tackling
He told the T&T Guardian to call him back
later, but did not answer his cellphone.
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