I have taken note of Her Excellency President Paula Mae Weeks’ latest list of names for the Police Service Commission. It is extremely peculiar that the name of Mr. Earnest Koylass has now mysteriously been removed without explanation from the said list.
This also comes the day after I raised concerns over the many links Mr. Koylass has to the PNM government and the troubling nature in which his name was put forward in the first place. [See attached links]
Her Excellency the President has become more entangled in a web of inappropriate conduct.
On Thursday 7th October, the day before my budget response, I received three letters from Her Excellency. These letters sought my views as required under the Constitution on three proposed nominees being considered for the Police Service Commission. The three names, along with their curriculum vitae, were Mr. Ernest Koylass, SC, Retired Justice Judith Jones, and Ms. Maxine Attong.
I take my role and responsibility as the Leader of the Opposition seriously, and so research and enquiries into the three individuals were being conducted to determine their suitability for these important positions on the independent PolSC.
I felt that this was even more critical now, in light of the controversy surrounding the collapse of the previous Commission, whose members all resigned.
However, The President only gave me two working days (Friday 8th October and Monday 11th October) to do my research and enquiries. These enquiries cannot be done in two days. The President appears to be rushing through these nominations in order to prevent proper scrutiny and investigation of her nominees.
Further, I am not a “rubber stamp” for these nominations, and careful consideration and examination must be made.
Alarmingly today, the Office of the President has issued a release indicating that the nominations of two Commissioners on the PolSC were sent to Parliament. This process was completed without the views of the Leader of the Opposition.
In fact, the list was submitted to Parliament after just two business days, which would not have been sufficient time to complete research into the nominees.
Her Excellency now has, inter alia, FIVE serious questions to answer.
1. Why was the PolSC merit list for Acting Commissioner of Police not presented to the Parliament?
2. Was it Prime Minister Keith Rowley who interfered with the PolSC merit list at President’s House to disrupt the process of the appointment of the Acting Police Commissioner?
3. Was Ernest Koylass’s name deliberately removed from the nomination list after his close associations with the PNM became public, and if so, on whose instruction was this done?
4. Why is Her Excellency attempting to rush through names to the Parliament, without the input and views of the Leader of the Opposition?
5. When will the President respond to a letter sent to her signed by all 19 opposition MP’s concerning the events of the PolSC scandal?
I again state that no one in Trinidad and Tobago is above the law.
It is my respectful view that until President Paula-Mae Weekes tells the nation all the details about the now-infamous interference meeting, she has no moral or ethical authority to make new PSC appointments.
The President, by not addressing these issues publicly, is bringing the Office of the President into disrepute.
She is doing irreparable damage to the democracy of our country.
If she cannot come clean, she must resign.
Kamla Persad-Bissessar, SC, MP
Leader of the Opposition