This after the High Court on Thursday morning ruled that the Police Orders enacted in January this year by the Government for the selection and appointment of a Police Commissioner are unconstitutional.
Opposition Leader and Senior Counsel Kamla Persad-Bissessar, speaking with the media after the delivery of the ruling, says it has prevented the establishment of a police state under the People’s National Movement (PNM) administration and at the beck and call of the political directorate.
She says the public can now rest easy because of the ruling.
Also commenting on the landmark judgment, Attorney Gerald Ramdeen notes that the Police Orders were among the first pieces of legislation enacted by AG Al-Rawi upon his assumption of office.
He says the ruling vindicates the view of Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar who saw the Orders as infringing on the independence of the Police Service Commission in the selection of a top cop and deputy top cop.
Ramdeen says the Court has also ruled that the process for the selection of the Commissioner which would have started in January, should not have begun since the National Security Minister was the one who initiated the proceedings.
He says that the ruling is an indictment of the PNM administration and shows their alleged attempts to undermine the democracy of the country.
However, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi refuted these statements, stating that the orders were not struck out in their entirety and the process of appointment has been simplified, and is still moving forward.
Speaking at Thursday’s post-Cabinet briefing, Al-Rawi said that contrary to media reports, the legal notices still stand and have not been entirely struck out.
“It is entirely incorrect to say the UNC (United National Congress) has won some victory, that’s an erroneous headline..."
“They said that everything was ultra vires, they wanted to have all of the prescriptive terms returned…they got none of that.”
“The process needed to be simplified and that has withstood the scrutiny of the court.”
Al-Rawi said that the Police Service Commission (PSC) remains an independent entity and has been placed to do what it needs to do.
“We stand by the principle that they (PSC) are autonomous. What we wanted to do was simplify the process,” he said.