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Worry over top cop choice

marciadottin, [email protected]

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PORT-OF-SPAIN – The Police Service will be further demoralised should a foreigner be appointed Commissioner of Police, Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley said on Friday.Rowley was speaking during the Parliament sitting, where a motion was debated to approve a notification to the President of the nomination by the Police Service Commission of a candidate to the office of Commissioner of Police.Government rejected Canadian Neal Parker as the next commissioner. Parker was on the evaluation team at Penn State University and ended up applying for the commissioner position.  On Friday, Parliament will debate on another Canadian for the post of commissioner.Rowley said that the Opposition consulted with police officers from the First and Second Divisions and they said that if a foreign commissioner is selected, “that will affect the self-interest of the police officers and it will demoralise the Police Service”.He said that the officers said that at present, the morale of the police, on a scale of one to ten, stood at five, and that with a foreign commissioner, that rating would drop to two.“Mr Speaker, we have been warned!” Rowley said.He said in Jamaica, a foreign commissioner was appointed and that failed because the police did not lend their cooperation. “We could be heading down that road,” he said.Rowley also reiterated that the system for selecting a commissioner was flawed and it must be accepted that a“bad law” was passed.He said the system was changed because it was felt that the commissioner was a creature of the Prime Minister because of the veto power.Rowley also took to task Parker’s defence that there was no conflict of interest in him applying for the commissioner position.He said this reminded him of when George Bush was looking for a Vice-President and Dick Cheney was mandated to draw up the qualifications and find the best candidate, and Cheney returned, saying he was the best person for the job.He said there was something “fundamentally” wrong with the process used to select this country’s commissioner and the law should be reviewed to ensure a national is selected to lead the police force.
(Trinidad Express)