Race issue still to be addressed

This, as they extended an “olive branch” to fired PSC chairman Nizam Mohammed. At a press briefing held at the Marriott Hotel, Mucurapo, three members of the PSC revealed that the issue of racial imbalances within the Police Service was discussed informally prior to a meeting of the PSC in February. However, they said, the issue was discussed and then the then chairman, Nizam Mohammed, agreed to take the issue off of the meeting’s formal agenda. Instead, he later sought the protection of Parliament in order to raise the issue in an open forum. The PSC members said they were shocked when this happened.

However asked yesterday whether, notwithstanding Mohammed’s removal, there was still a valid issue of racial imbalance to be dealt with, PSC members Kenneth Parker and Martin George argued that there was an issue that would have to be dealt with but at the appropriate time.

“That is an issue which we are not prepared to discuss at this time,” Parker told members of the media. “This is something that we are all very aware of and we would treat that matter in due course.”

George, on the same issue, noted that, “these are issues which will always be important to any society and we must never shrink from dealing with issues simply because they are thorny or difficult.” At the same time, George argued that the issue comes down to one of the proper remit of the PSC, which is the watchdog body over the Police Service.

“We must be guided by our remit,” he said. “And I think that is where we were forced to path ways with our chairman.”

At the same time, the three members extended an “olive branch” to Mohammed.

“We have continued to extend an olive branch of peace, friendship and harmony to our former chairman and do so still and we wish only the very best for him in his future endeavours,” George said.

While under Section 122 of the Constitution there is no properly constituted PSC without a chairman, the three members yesterday indicated that they have powers to continue to function. In addition to yesterday’s press conference, this week’s activities are to also include a planned meeting on Thursday where the issue of Mohammed’s removal is due to be noted.

“We will be able to continue with the work of the commission,” George argued. He said three members would make a quorum.

The appointed PSC members who attended yesterday’s press briefing were: Jacqueline Cheesman, George and Parker. The fourth member, Addison Khan, was notably absent. The PSC members present attempted to downplay the perception of division with the PSC, especially so in the wake of Mohammed’s removal. “There was never any division,” Parker said.


"Race issue still to be addressed"

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