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Rowley says he will not support attempts to destroy T&T based on race

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said on Wednesday that he would not be part of any attempt to use race to destroy the “beauty of our people and the fabric of this land” as the island continues its search for a police commissioner since the post became vacant in 2012.

Parliament last week accepted the report of a Select Committee that found the procedure followed by the Police Service Commission (PSC) was “unsound, unsafe, unsatisfactory and illogical” in seeking a replacement for Canadian Dwayne Gibbs, who resigned the post in 2012. Stephen Williams has been acting in the post since then.

Opposition legislators had staged a walkout prior to the vote on the acceptance of the report, insisting that Deodat Dulalchan, an Indo-Trinidadian with 38 years of service, who had been recommended for the position by the PSC, be given the job.

In a letter to the Trinidad Express newspaper and released by the Office of the Prime Minister, Rowley took issue with columnist Michael Harris, whom he said had described the establishment of a Special Select Committee to examine the PSC procedure as an “elaborate ritual”.

Rowley said the Trinidad Express newspaper columnist had indicated that the Select Committee was convened by the Government “simply because the person recommended by the PSC for the post of Commissioner was an Indian”.

He said given the “experience of your Columnist and the deeply offensive nature of this assertion I must protect your readers from this uninformed piece of misrepresentation by putting the facts before them”.

Rowley said that the records of Parliament would reveal that he had moved the motion asking the House to receive the notification of the President with respect to the recommendation of the PSC, as required by the Constitution.

He said in doing so he had asked the legislators to appoint the Select Committee and the move was backed by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad Bissessar, whom he said, according to the Hansard, indicated “we do see merit in having a special Select Committee set up…because the office of the Commissioner of Police is one of the most important offices in the country when it comes to our democracy and enforcement of law and order”

In his lengthy letter to the newspaper in which he quoted extensively from the presentation of the Opposition Leader, Rowley said “yet the Government is accused by Mr Harris, an experienced columnist, of contriving to act against Mr Dulalchan, because of his race.

“Logic demands that a similar allegation be made against the Opposition Leader who leads a bench of 18 members of whom 16 are Indo Trinidadians,” he wrote.

He said that it should also be noted that as soon as the head of a Hindu organisation “came out and publicly called for the appointment of Mr Dulalchan, the Opposition jumped to attention, and the position of Mrs Persad Bissessar was completely reversed, so much so that today, she considers the numerous flaws in the procedure of the Commission to be minor and insignificant.

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