Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 9th 2014 Contents A5
Thursday, January 9, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
The decision to suspend all leave indefinitely will
cause havoc on the physical and mental well-being
of policemen who are already poorly compensated,
says president of the Police Service Social and Welfare
Association acting Insp Anand Ramesar.
He is calling for an immediate performance audit
into the management of the Police Service, saying the
issue was not more officers on the streets but rather
how they are being managed by the top brass.
He added: "The issue is not giving police more
resources, it is one of proper management.
"The association believes if the Prime Minister looks
at what is happening internally in the Police Service,
she would mitigate the disenchantment that is hap-
Ramesar was responding to statements by the PM,
who said no officer, from top to bottom, would be
entitled to vacation now.
At an emergency meeting with members of the
National Security Council, Persad-Bissessar said that
measure was the latest in a string of anti-crime initiatives
by the Government in the wake of the spike in violent
crimes and murders in the new year.
Saying Persad-Bissessar s decision was "not sitting
well with the membership," Ramesar added policemen
He said that was because many officers had applied
for leave since last December but were denied it, owing
to the increase in police activities during the Christmas
"This would mean officers would have had to bring
their leave forward in January but all their plans have
"They are now confronted by a situation with no
leave at all and this has caused serious concern and
disenchantment," Ramesar added.
He said the Police Service owed "hundreds" of officers
money as a result of their being called out from vacation
"The association has written the acting Commissioner
of Police many times to have the issue addressed and
to date this has not been done. Clearly it remains an
issue and it is going to affect performance," Ramesar
Saying Carnival was right around the corner, he said
that was a time when officers had to work extra duty.
"What this could result in is few officers being
assigned to functions. So if there were nine officers
assigned to a fete, that number would now be decreased,"
He said he was disappointed that before the decision
was made to freeze leave, the association was not con-
Ramesar added: "In a matter like this, good industrial
relations practice would require there ought to be con-
sultation with the association, especially when it comes
to altering the terms and conditions of employment
of police officers. We take this issue very seriously."
Asked if he believed the move to suspend leave could
result in officers staying away from duty, Ramesar said
no officer would deliberately do so.
He said, however, if an officer was sick or burnt out
then that person might want to get some rest.
While the association threw its support behind Per-
sad-Bissessar in the fight against crime, Ramesar said
it intended to write to ask to meet with her.
He added: "Her decision has caused a high level of
dissatisfaction among officers and this cannot continue.
"Every time something goes wrong, you call police
officers out and they continue to be burnt out."
The association is expected to meet with its mem-
bership today at the Besson Street Police Station, Port-
Acting Police Commissioner Stephen
Williams has been summoned to a meet-
ing with the Police Service Commission
(PSC) today to explain the recent spike
in murders and the strategies he intends
to implement in the fight against this
type of crime and criminality.
This is according to a release yesterday
by the PSC. The meeting takes place from
11.30 am at the commission s offices, corner
Churchill-Roosevelt Highway and Pasea
Main Road, Tunapuna.
Williams was summoned in the wake
of an unprecedented 20 murders within
the first seven days of the year.
The commission said yesterday it "views
very seriously matters of public safety and
the duty of those responsible for it."
Today s meeting was originally scheduled
to review Williams performance and he
was not expected to attend.
A source close to the commission said
yesterday his attendance had become nec-
essary because of public concern about
the crime situation.
There has been public disquiet about
the spate of murders and Prime Minister
Kamla Persad-Bissessar called a special
meeting of the National Security Council
on Tuesday to advise members, including
Williams and Chief of Defence Staff Major
Gen Kenrick Maharaj, that she was no
longer prepared for any failure to maintain
Persad-Bissessar said she had made clear
to each member of the National Security
Council that they would be held personally
accountable for any further such failure.
Williams said previously that any suc-
cessful crime fight required the support
of all citizens and other institutions as the
police alone could not fight crime.
Williams, who was the Deputy Com-
missioner in 2012, was elevated to the
acting position on August 7 after the sud-
den resignations of Commissioner of Police
Dwayne Gibbs and Deputy Commissioner
Jack Ewatski, both Canadians.
He was given a second six-month exten-
sion from January last year and a third
from July. His current term ends on January
31.The PSC is also expected to formulate
its strategic plan for 2014 and beyond and
look at the existing system of appointment
of a commissioner and two deputy com-
missioners during today s meeting.
Sources told the T&T Guardian that
Williams was most likely to be given anoth-
er six-month extension.
They added that although there have
been a significant number of murders in
the first week of the new year, it is likely
that Williams may have performed cred-
itably in other areas and his performance
was being assessed in those areas as well.
Today s meeting also will review the
existing arrangement for the selection of
top police officers.
A Cabinet-appointed committee, chaired
by Deosaran, had been addressing the issue
last year but work was halted pending the
appointment of a new commission.
The commission, which is chaired by
Prof Ramesh Deosaran, was not operational
from July to November last year as the
term of all the commissioners, except
Deosaran, had expired.
A new commission was appointed with
two new members --- architect/planner
and former Independent senator Dr James
Armstrong and attorney Roamar Achat-
Saney --- while attorneys Addison Khan
and Martin George were reappointed.
Deosaran s three-year term, which began
in 2011, expires in April.
Former head of the public service Regi-
nald Dumas had threatened legal action
against the Parliament for approving Arm-
strong and Achat-Saney, two of President
Anthony Carmona s nominees, as members
of the PSC.
Dumas is claiming they do not meet the
constitutional requirement for membership
The Constitution says commissioners
must be "qualified and experienced in the
disciplines of law, finance, sociology or
Dumas is contending that while Achat-
Saney is an attorney, Addison Khan and
Martin George are also attorneys, while
none of the new commissioners appear to
be experts in finance or management.
The new PSC members began work last
Almost two years after San Fernando
East MP Patrick Manning suffered a mild
stroke, he is expected to return to Par-
liament tomorrow for its first sitting in
the new year.
He has been on extended sick leave for
almost two years of the current session.
He fell ill at his constituency office on Cof-
fee Street, San Fernando, on January 23,
2012 and later in the night he suffered the
He was taken to San Fernando General
Hospital and days later he went to Wash-
ington, DC, for further treatment, including
He returned home in August but days
later he suffered a seizure and was hos-
pitalised again at San Fernando for two
On April 10, 2013 rumours circulated
that Manning had died. After denying the
claim, Manning made a high-profile trip
to Port-of-Spain to buy a shirt to attend
a church service.
He continued his physiotherapy at the
Augustus Long Hospital, Pointe-a-Pierre,
for several months.
He requested extended sick leave, which
was granted by Speaker Wade Mark. The
work at his constituency office was handled
by staff and he visited on certain days to
meet with constituents.
Yesterday Manning used social media
to inform the public of his return to Par-
"Back to work. See you in Parliament
on Friday," he posted on Facebook and
Manning was said to have improved sig-
nificantly in the past few months and
tomorrow afternoon was expected to occu-
py a new seat in Parliament, behind Oppo-
sition Whip Marlene Mc Donald.
He previously sat in the last seat on the
12-seat Opposition front bench. Former
Opposition Senator Terrence Deyalsingh
was elected the 13th PNM MP in Parliament
on November 4, having won the St Joseph
Manning said he would quit politics at
the end of next year s current term.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar
and Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley
have repeatedly wished Manning a speedy
recovery and return to Parliament.
Leader of Government Business in the
House of Representatives, Housing Minister
Dr Roodal Monomial, said he would be
happy to receive his own MP to the House
after a long stay away due to illness.
In a two line e-mail comment, Moonilal
said he was "looking forward to his usual
incisive contributions after such a vacuous
and uninspired period under Dr Rowley."
Manning back in
After a two-year absence because of illness...
PSC, top cop in talks today on crime
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