‘Let jackasses bray’
By Nalinee Seelal Monday, July 30 2012
click on pic to zoom in
National Security Minister Jack Warner....
“Let the jackasses bray.”
This was National Security Minister Jack Warner’s response yesterday to Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley who earlier accused Government of brow-beating Commissioner of Police Dwayne Gibbs, amid reports of plans to fire the Canadian police chief and compatriot Deputy Commissioner Jack Ewatski.
Warner declined to comment on if the reports were true and would only confirm there was a meeting of the National Security Council, chaired by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, last Friday.
“I attended a national security meeting on Friday which I cannot discuss with the press for security reasons. I cannot comment on any matters discussed at the national security meeting,” Warner said.
Pressed further for comment on Rowley’s accusation that Government was interfering in the management of the Police Service, Warner replied, “Let the jackasses bray.”
Rowley claims Government was taking steps to remove Gibbs from office to install someone “of their choice.” It has been reported that Deputy Commissioner Stephen Williams, a Trinidadian, who rose through the ranks of the Police Service is favoured for the post of top cop.
Williams had been rejected by the PNM administration of Patrick Manning when the Police Service Commission short-listed him as the nominee to be Commissioner of Police (CoP)— an appointment that has to be approved by Parliament.
Speaking during a media briefing at Balisier House, Tranquillity Street, Port-of-Spain yesterday, Rowley said Warner was “brow beating the Commissioner of Police,” “threatening him and making him a little boy”.
He made these remarks while speaking on allegations against Warner in relation to the FIFA bribery affair. During the question and answer session, Rowley said Warner has been making his views public about who he wanted as CoP. Rowley said it is under a UNC coalition that action was being led against a CoP, undermining the independence of the CoP’s office.
“Intimidating him (Gibbs) even when he (Warner) stands...to be investigated by the said police,” said Rowley, adding, “(Warner) is indicating a possible truncation of the Police Commissioner’s tenure which has serious implications for independence and for replacement by a select team of the Minister of National Security.”
Rowley said he would not be surprised if the “action man”, as Warner is called, managed to get Government to terminate Gibb’s contract on the basis of non-performance.
“That is a matter for the Police Service Commission that is not a matter for the National Security Minister,” he said.
President of the Police Social and Welfare Association, Sgt Anand Ramesar, yesterday said several members had contacted him about information circulating that plans were afoot to dismiss Gibbs and Ewatski.
Ramesar said the association has always lobbied for performance to be pegged to compensation for the positions of CoP and Deputy CoP.
“We believe that sufficient time has elapsed for a decision to be made, in recent times, there has been many blunders which has adversely affected the Police Service by way of example, morale is very low due to the stagnation of promotions caused by certain decisions of the Commissioner. We believe that the overriding agenda must be to provide leadership in the Police Service to bring about a reduction of crime as well as improve the productivity and efficiency of the service,” Ramesar said.
He said the association would support Williams for the post of CoP if the contacts of Gibbs and Ewatski were bought out by Government.
“During when Williams served in the capacity of Commissioner of Police he would have demonstrated an ability to motivate the officers in the organisation and we think that is what is required at this point in time. The association will throw its fullest support behind DCP Williams if he is given a mandate to lead the Police Service.”
Gibbs and Ewatski have one year to serve on the three-year contracts given to them.
Warner last week said he had written Gibbs asking him to reopen all police stations closed down as part of the 21st Century policing initiative, stating that “those who don’t hear will feel”. Sources yesterday said although Government is not satisfied with the performances of Gibbs and Ewatski it was treading carefully on any moves to replace them.
Newsday also contacted Attorney General Anand Ramlogan on the matter, but he said he was out of the country on vacation and did not attend any National Security Council meeting last Friday. Calls to the cellphone of Persad-Bissessar went unanswered yesterday.
Gibbs and Ewatski also did not answer calls to their cellphones.