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Sunday 23 September 2018
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Race talk hampering Police Service

THE ability of the Police Service to win the support of the population in the war against crime in the country is being hampered by the perception of ethnic imbalance within the service.

Police Service Commission (PSC) chairman Nizam Mohammed made this charge as members of the commission met yesterday with the Municipal and Service Commissions joint select committee (JSC) in the Parliament Chamber of the Red House.

Declaring that he was determined to deal with the issue head-on, Mohammed told JSC members, “then you understand why the guns are being aimed at me.” “We (PSC) need the protection of the Parliament,” he declared.

Mohammed recalled that he has worked amongst police officers for the last 35 years during which many of them expressed their frustrations to him. He also recalled recently receiving a copy of a letter from the president of the Police Social and Welfare Division, Sgt Anand Ramesar, to Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs. In the letter Ramesar asked Gibbs to review the ethnic composition of a promotion advisory board. Ramesar referred to statistics provided from the Director of Personnel Administration. Mohammed revealed that there were no persons of East Indian origin from the ranks of commissioner to senior superintendent. However, he noted there were 21 superintendents of African origin and ten of East Indian origin.

Expressing optimism that the situation will become more balanced following superintendent examinations on Monday, Mohammed declared, “ You get the impression that we are not sufficiently mature to look at this. You cannot hope to win the confidence of the public for the police. You cannot hope to revive or restore the confidence of the public in the police service if you do not have a properly structured police service,” he added.

Observing that nearly half of the population is of East Indian origin, Mohammed said, “You are asking them to support the Police Service. They have to provide the Police Service with information. They have to feel protected by the police service when they see the hierarchy of the Police Service.”

Health Minister Therese Baptiste-Cornelis, said she felt uncomfortable with the use of ethnic classifications in any job description. Stating that she was neither of African nor Indian descent, Baptiste-Cornelis said: “I consider myself a Trinbagonian.” Opposition Senator Shamfa Cudjoe asked Mohammed whether he was advocating some type of affirmative action regarding the structure of the Police Service.

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