Commissioner of Police Dwayne Gibbs and Deputy Commissioner of Police Jack Ewatski have tendered their resignations which will take effect on August 7, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced last night.
In the same breath, a tough-talking Persad-Bissessar assured that curbing crime is her Government’s main priority and new measures will be announced in the coming weeks to deal with the pressing problem.
A special Cabinet meeting was convened yesterday at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s to discuss the issue.
At just after 8 p.m. the Prime Minister delivered her five-minute address.
Persad-Bissessar said she was advised that the Police Service Commission (PSC) met and considered the resignation letters of Gibbs and Ewatski which were dated July 26, 2012.
Both men were hired in September 2010, and were paid million-dollar annual salaries along with several other perks.
She read a release from the PSC which advised of the resignations and the Commission’s commitment to managing the transition process of appointing a new CoP and deputy.
The PSC, she said, is engaged in the process of appointing persons to fill the vacancies.
“On behalf of the Government and people of Trinidad and Tobago I wish to thank Commissioner Gibbs and deputy Commissioner Ewatski for their service. We stand ready to support the new acting Commissioner of Police and other deputy Commissioners and we pray for their success,” said Persad-Bissessar.
“...Rest assured that all necessary resources will be placed at the disposal of those reposed with the authority and responsibility of getting the job done quickly and effectively,” she added.
Gibbs and Ewatski, both Canadians, who were selected by the PSC in 2010 to fill the posts of top cops and approved by Parliament. Since their appointments they have been the subject of criticism over the spiralling murder rate.
Persad-Bissessar said last night that there is an urgency to guarantee the nation’s safety and security.
“No measure will be spared against those who seek to terrorise and brutalise our elderly folk, our women, our children and our men. The national outrage has reached a stage where everyone agrees that stronger and more aggressive initiatives are required,” she said.
“We must channel this sense of outrage into an army of resistance involving our law-abiding citizens. The battle lines are clearly drawn, we are confident that good will prevail over evil,” she added.
“Ours is a duty of hard action to be taken against those who wish to threaten public safety at any level and we will deal with them in the full force of the law,” said Persad-Bissessar.
Persad-Bissessar, as head of the National Security Council, said that several “major shifts” in policy and programmes were identified to arrest the issue of crime as Government’s number one priority.
National Security Minister Jack Warner, she said, will announce these changes in the next few weeks.
Even as calls have been made for Warner to be fired from her Cabinet, given the latest findings by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) report, the Prime Minister called on the nation to support Warner. Earlier this month, the international tribunal made damning findings against Warner in his involvement in a May 2011 meeting involving Caribbean football officials and former FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam.
“I ask that you give him all of our support as you will give to those who will fill the vacancies created in the Police Service,” she appealed. Deputy Commissioner Stephen Williams is tipped to fill the void.
“We will work to create tactical and intelligence units of the joint services that will become the pride of law enforcement and the terror of the underworld. Together with you our citizens of Trinidad and Tobago we will emancipate ourselves from the burden of fear, from the burden of lawlessness and unbridled violence,” said the Prime Minister.