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PSC recommended $m payments to Gibbs, Ewatski

By Ria Taitt Political Editor

It was the Police Service Commission (PSC) which recommended to Government that it pay a "golden handshake" amounting to approximately $1.2 million to former commissioner of police Dwayne Gibbs and his deputy, Jack Ewatski.

This took into consideration that both men resigned 14 months before the expiration date of their contract.

National Security Jack Warner, in response to questions from People's National Movement (PNM) Senator Fitzgerald Hinds, yesterday told the Senate Gibbs was paid a total (salary and allowances) amounting to $2,505,214.66 over the duration of the contract.

On cessation of the contract, he received an ex-gratia award of $1,277,420.

Warner said Ewatski received a total payment (salary and allowances) of $2,358,668.15 over the period of his contract. On cessation of his contract, he received $1,210,307.

Warner said the matter of the cessation was first raised by Gibbs and Ewatski in their respective letters of resignation, dated July 26, 2012, to the chairman of the Police Service Commission. The resignations took effect from August 7, 2012.

Warner said in their letters of resignation to the PSC chairman, neither Gibbs nor Ewatski gave any reasons for their resignations.

He said, according to information provided by the PSC, no oral or written requests were made for an alteration of the terms and conditions, given that there was a 14-month period before the expiration of the contracts.

Hinds asked why, in the light of the fact that the cessation of the contracts came from the two men (not the Government), did Government find it necessary to pay the ex-gratia payments.

Warner said Government was guided by the advice of the PSC, which was the competent body to make a judgment on the issue.

Asked by PNM Senator Faris Al Rawi whether Government had a discretion to accept or reject the advice, Warner said he did not know. But he said Government received the recommendation and paid the sum.

Warner said he took the note which carried the PSC advice to Cabinet. Asked whether the ex-gratia payment would be a precedent for people opting out of contracts, Warner said he couldn't say. "I could only say that is is the position adopted in this specific case," he said.

The ex-gratia sums appear to be more or less equivalent to what the two Canadians would have received had they served out the remaining months of their contract.

Gibbs's monthly salary was $120,325.50, while Ewatski's was $113,576.66.

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