By CLINT CHAN TACK Friday, July 2 2010
NATIONAL SECURITY Minister John Sandy yesterday said the appointment of Canadian national Dwayne Gibbs as this country’s next Commissioner of Police (CoP) is all but assured as he admitted crime reached critical levels.
Sandy made this statement prior to today’s sitting of the House of Representatives where a motion to approve the nomination of Gibbs as CoP will be debated. When the House sat last Friday, Government and the Opposition agreed to reject the Police Service Commission’s (PSC) first choice nominee, Canadian Neal Parker for CoP.
Gibbs is the PSC’s second choice for the post. Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar hinted that Government will approve Gibbs’ nomination when the House sits today. The Opposition People’s National Movement (PNM) has said it will not support the nomination of any foreign national as CoP. The Opposition abstained when the House voted for the appointment of Canadian Jack Ewatski as a Deputy CoP last week but supported the appointment of locals Stephen Williams and Maurice Piggott as Deputy CoPs.
“The selection process will be honoured and I am sure that in the event that the honourable gentleman is deemed to be suitable and there aren’t any reasons why he ought not to be appointed, I’m almost certain that his appointment will be made,” Sandy said. While he expressed a preference for a local to be appointed CoP, Sandy said he would welcome Gibbs “with open arms” if he is chosen. “Whomsoever is appointed I will work with. I will give them all the support necessary because as it stands now, we are facing a national crisis and need to get rid of what is burning our country and our citizens today,” he declared.
Outlining several strategies which Government will pursue to bring crime under control, Sandy ruled out granting of powers of arrest to all soldiers as a crime-fighting strategy. He said his recommendation was to precept military police officers to work alongside their civilian counterparts and for all soldiers to eventually return to barracks once the Police Service is strengthened sufficiently to combat crime.
“A soldier is differently trained from a policeman. While some people hate to hear it, a soldier is a trained killer. That is what he is. Unlike the policeman who is trained to do police work, he (a soldier) is not,” Sandy stated. Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said it seemed as if certain criminal elements in the country were joining forces within recent weeks to test Government’s resolve.
Warning against this, Ramlogan noted the “clinical and surgical precision” with which Government acted to nip criminal activity at Cashew Gardens, during a recent illegal grab for state land.