Ex-chairman: PSC has power to fire Gibbs
Former chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC) Kenneth Lalla SC said the PSC can terminate the services of the Commissioner of Police or a Deputy Commissioner once he is not functioning within the ambit of his contract.
Lalla said the issue of judicial review only applies if the person holding the office is a public officer, not someone on contract.
“This gentlemen has a contractual relationship with the PSC which has the power to appoint a CoP and Deputy CoP under the Constitution. And the question that arises is whether he has been functioning within the ambit of his contract. And if he hasn’t, you terminate his contract. And if he has been functioning within the context of his contract, then there is nothing you can do. So there is no real problem there,” Lalla said.
According to Section 123 (1) of the Constitution, the PSC has the power to appoint and remove from office the CoP or Deputy CoP. The grounds on which PSC may terminate the services of a Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner are: a) if the officer is absent from duty without leave for seven consecutive days, during which he has failed to notify the PSC; b) breach of contract; c) reported inefficiency based on his performance appraisal reports after giving him an opportunity to be heard.
The procedure for the termination of the services of a CoP or Deputy shall be prescribed by the PSC in accordance with Section 129 of the Constitution. But no regulations (procedures) have been made to date under this section.
However, Section 129 makes it clear that the PSC may, with the consent of the Prime Minister, by regulation or otherwise, regulate its own procedure and remove the holder of the office of the Commissioner of Police.
Very significant is the fact that after the PSC has taken a decision to remove the holder of the office of Commissioner of Police, it shall not be subject to an appeal.
Section 123 (10) of the Constitution provides: “Notwithstanding Section 132, no appeal shall lie to the Public Service Appeal Board in respect of a decision made by the Police Service Commission under this Section.”
This therefore appears to contradict statements made by the chairman, Ramesh Deosaran at the Joint Select Committee last Friday when he stated that while CoP Dwayne Gibbs was close to the brink, “in an (appraisal of his performance) exercise such as ours, we prefer to err on the side of caution ... to construct an appraisal and the accompanying decision that can stand higher scrutiny, especially in a matter of judicial review”. —Ria Taitt