23 Dec 2011

Unconstitutional Appointment?

While researching the dismissal of Nizam Mohammed from the Police Service Commission, I came across a rather startling discovery:

The appointments of Nizam Mohammed and Ramesh Deosaran as ‘Chairman’ of the Police Service Commission, appear to be unconstitutional!

The Government portal website says:

“The Office of the President advises that after due consultation the House of Representatives, having approved a Notification from the President with respect to the service of Professor Ramesh Deosaran as a Member of the Police Service Commission, His Excellency Timothy Hamel-Smith, Acting President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, has appointed Professor Ramesh Deosaran to be a Member of the Police Service Commission and, acting in his own discretion in accordance with the Constitution, has appointed Professor Deosaran as Chairman of the Police Service Commission, for a period of three years, with effect from the 13th April, 2011.”

Now, the President acting on his own discretion is one thing, but I question the part about “in accordance with the Constitution”, for the following reason:

The Constitution actually says, in Section 122.3:

3. The Chairman of the Police Service Commission shall be either the Chairman or the Deputy Chairman of the Public Service Commission.”

Given that the position of Chairman is specified as to who can actually be appointed, in no less a place as the supreme law of the country, how then can the President (or acting President) appoint someone who is not the Chairman or Deputy Chairman of the Public Service Commission to the position of Chairman of the Police Service Commission? Or have these (previous) Chairmen also been appointed as either the Chairman or Deputy Chairman of the Public Service Commission also?

As far as I am aware, the Chairman of the Public Service Commission is Christopher Thomas. I wonder who is the Deputy Chairman? I have been trying to find out the composition of the Public Services Commission without success, so if anyone can enlighten me, I will be grateful.

It appears that the President has made not one, but at least two ultra vires appointment, in that none of these men have been appointed to the Public Service Commission as either Chairman or Deputy Chairman.

(PS: I have tagged this under ‘culture’ as it reflects what I think Trinidad culture (in part) to be… ignorance and disregard for the rule of law.)

Addendum:

HM Castillo wrote in:

Jumbie only one of the names you mentioned there (Nizam Mohammed) relates to the Police Services Commission. Both Eric St Cyr and Ken Gordon relate to the Integrity Commission, or did I miss something?

But I did see, what you have written as stated in section 122:3 of the constitution. There does not seem to be any constitutional amendments either.

I wonder what's the real story here?

Interesting work Jumbies _watch. The seasons best to you!

Thanks, HM Castillo. I have amended.

PS

HM Castillo has written in yet again:

“JumbiesWatch, found the answer to your query. The Constitution was amended by Act 6 of 2006 - Section 4, which amends section 122 as follows: -

4. The Constitution is amended in section 122 by repealing subsections (2), (3) and (4) and substituting the following subsections:

(2) The members of the Police Service Commission shall be appointed by the President in accordance with this section.

(3) The President shall, after consultation with the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition nominate persons, who are qualified and experienced in the disciplines of law, finance, sociology or management, to be appointed as members of the Police Service Commission".

The Act was proclaimed oh January 1, 2007. "

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