AG CONDEMNS ATTACK ON THE POLICE SOCIAL AND WELFARE ASSOCIATION
We wish to condemn the attack by the head of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA), Ms Gillian Lucky, on the executive of the Police Social and Welfare Association (PSWA) and the Office of the Attorney General. The accusation that the PSWA does not understand the law which governs the PCA is condescending and belittling. It shows that the PCA does not understand; far less appreciate the legitimate concerns raised by the Association about the transparency, independence and integrity of investigations conducted by the PCA against police officers.
The PCA has clearly missed the mark as it barely mentioned the single, critical, burning issue about the leak of its confidential, investigative report into the establishment of a Flying Squad to the PNM. A sensitive report with implications for National Security would be in the hands of the Chairman alone with restricted, limited access given to others. That the leaking of this report to the PNM is of no concern to Ms Lucky to prompt an immediate investigation into the leak is disappointing, unsatisfactory and highly suspicious.
The PCA is an independent body and as such cannot appear to be politically biased. There is no need for any reminder to the AG about this. Ms Lucky, however, should perhaps remind herself of this fact as she openly and frequently makes critical political statements in her Express column and television show. This is inconsistent with the appearance of political neutrality and impartiality.
With respect to the law, the PCA conspicuously omitted any reference to Section 20 (3) of the Police Complaints Authority Act which mandates it to submit its report to the Minister of National Security. Section 20 reads as follows:
“20. (1) The Authority shall, within three months of the
end of each financial year, submit to the Minister in
respect of the preceding financial year—
(a) an annual report of its activities in the
preceding financial year; and
(b) a copy of the audited statement of accounts
and such information relating to the
operation of the Authority as the Minister
(2) The Minister shall cause a copy of the annual
report and audited statement to be laid in Parliament
within three months of its receipt and if Parliament is
not then in session, within twenty-eight days of the
commencement of its next session.
(3) The Authority may on its own initiative or at
the request of the Minister conduct an investigation
and submit a special report to the Minister who shall
cause it to be laid in Parliament in accordance with
The PCA cannot operate as a runaway horse but must be guided by the law. It must be fair to the many hardworking and decent police officers who risk life, limb and property to protect and serve our country on a daily basis.
The PCA must be careful that it does not do more harm than good by appearing to be over-jealous in its investigations against police officers. It must strike the right balance in the public interest so that police officers will not become too fearful about performing their duties.
Dated:Wednesday 16th April, 2014
MINISTRY OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
REPUBLIC OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO