And while Mohammed has publicly called on the President to explain the reasons why his appointment was revoked, Maharaj told Newsday it was not enough at this stage for Richards to merely provide an explanation. “We have passed that point. He should retire. He made a mess out of a simple issue. Max must go,” Maharaj declared.

Stating there was a 1994 study which argued there was an ethnic imbalance in the Police Service, Maharaj also claimed that Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s current National Security Adviser Gary Griffith also spoke on this issue when he was a temporary UNC senator.

Newsday was reliably informed that during his tenure as a temporary Opposition Senator from October 2002 to September 2007, Griffith spoke about situations in New York and the United Kingdom where questions were raised about ethnic composition in police forces in each of these jurisdictions. At that time, Griffith said it was a question of levelling the playing field and it was necessary to “open the Pandora’s Box” and confront this issue head on with meritocracy being the main focus.

Mohammed first raised the issue of an ethnic imbalance in the Police Service in a letter dated December 7, 2010 to Israel Khan SC. In that letter, Mohammed said data provided by the Commissioner of Police (CoP) suggests that “within the Police Service of 6,219 personnel, 1,917 are of East Indian descent” and this represents approximately 30.82 percent of the service’s total manpower.

Mohammed said the CoP also advised that the suggested ratio of 90 percent of police officers being of African descent was incorrect. “He (CoP) stated that the records of the Police Service illustrate that approximately 61.71 percent of police officers are of African descent and 7.46 percent are of mixed ancestral heritage.”

Mohammed’s letter was a response to a letter which Khan wrote to him on August 23, 2010. In that letter, Khan said it was incumbent upon the PSC to conduct an inquiry/research in order to ascertain why the Police Service “is lopsided in favour of African membership.” Khan said he did not believe that affirmative action should be taken to cure this defect. “East Indian inclusion should take place slowly but surely and it should be based on merit, ability and integrity,” Khan said.

“Why has he dismissed Nizam Mohammed for speaking the truth? What wrong has Nizam Mohammed done by bringing this to the attention of the national community?” Maharaj asked. He said while it is expected that politicians will take sides on any issue, the President cannot take sides or respond to political pressure. Maharaj claimed that in Mohammed’s case, Richards “responded under PNM pressure.” However the revocation of Mohammed’s appointment was also preceded by strong condemnation from both the Government and the Opposition for his statements to the JSC.

On March 26, Works and Transport Minister Jack Warner said Mohammed had done a disservice to the country. On March 28, a statement issued from the Office of the Prime Minister said, “Mr Mohammed must be held accountable for his inflammatory and unwise remarks which in on way represent the views of the Government.

The statement went further to indicate that “statements such as the one by Mr Mohammed are divisive and serve no useful purpose other than to undermine the trust that is reposed in him as chairman of the Police Service Commission.”

The Congress of the People (COP) of which Mohammed is a member also condemned his remarks on March 28.

In a statement on Monday, the President said he exercised his powers under Sections 122 A (1) (d) and (f) of the Constitution to revoke Mohammed’s appointment on the basis of “a lack of competence to perform his duties” and that he failed “to perform his duties in a responsible manner.”



More in this section