NEWLY appointed acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams says he is no political tool and that his qualifications and experience can stand up to public scrutiny.
He also believes a local is better than a foreigner to hold the reins of the Police Service.
Williams made the statements yesterday, as he addressed his first daily police news briefing after assuming leadership of the Police Service following the resignation of Canadians Dwayne Gibbs and Jack Ewatski.
After a selection process in 2008, Williams was named the Police Service Commission's (PSC) choice to become this country's substantive Police Commissioner.
Williams's dream of becoming top cop, however, ended in the Parliament after the then ruling People's National Movement (PNM) voted against him being the head of the Police Service.
Last year, when the People's Partnership Government called a state of emergency, Williams was in charge of the Police Service because then Police Commissioner Gibbs was out of the country.
Questioned yesterday as to how he would appease citizens who may believe his ascension now to the post of top cop is politically motivated, Williams said:
"I think it is difficult for me to appease the citizens in relation to issues around political motivation. What I can assure the citizens is that I have spent the last 33 years working as a police officer. I have done everything that I can do as a professional police officer. I have been exposed to all levels of training as a police officer. I have actually been exposed to the highest level of training that anyone could receive at leadership level in the Commonwealth within policing. My CV (curriculum vitae) speaks for itself, my record of performance speaks for itself, I lead by example. I spent 33 years not taking a single day sick leave to date. How many persons in public life can speak to that?
"So I do not have to address the issue around politics. I have to address the issue of policing, that is my profession. I have spent a career doing that. I have qualified myself as an attorney-at-law. There is so much out there in the context of me as a police officer, so the issue of politics is not there for me. I am a professional police officer and I stay away from politics," Williams said yesterday.
He yesterday expressed gratitude for the service both Gibbs and Ewatski gave to the country, but said he is of the view that a local is better equipped to lead the Police Service.
"The both officers (Gibbs and Ewatski) have made a valuable contribution to policing in Trinidad and Tobago, they have proven to be dedicated police officers and that contribution has been made towards the protection of the citizens of this land at a very difficult time, a time when we have been confronted with challenges associated especially with violent crimes," Williams said.
"As a nation, we need to acknowledge and salute these officers for their performance, having come from Canada to Trinidad and Tobago and dedicated their time here for the past just-short-of-two years," he said.
Asked whether he felt a local was better than a foreigner to lead the Police Service, Williams said:
"I think yes it is best left to be addressed by a local like myself, that is my thought on it.
"The choice though of appointing a commissioner does not rest with me so that will be one for the Police Service Commission, but I share the view that it is best left for local officers to run the organisation."
Williams said the Police Service is moving forward with a "clear focus" to ensure a "seamless transition" between Gibbs's departure from and his ascension to the post of top cop.
He said after his five-month contract ends next year he is not certain as yet if he would apply for the substantive post when the PSC advertises for the position.
Williams says he has already given 33 years' service to the country and it may be time to explore other options.
He said controlling violent crime is the Police Service's top priority and recommendations will be sought from all officers, in an attempt to achieve that target.
Williams also promised to meet with the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service Social and Welfare Association to deal with the issue of acting appointments within the Second Division.
Williams and his executive are expected to meet with the head of the Association Sgt Anand Ramesar and his executive tomorrow to discuss the issues affecting morale within the Police Service.