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Instrument of appointment, no contract

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Why is it that in our ‘sweet’ T&T, we always allow ‘the tail to wag the dog?’ Or if some would prefer to be more refined, ‘put the carriage before the horse.’

Gary Griffith, Commissioner of Police designate—at least that is what I think is appropriate to call him—has been given his Instrument of Appointment but he has no contract of employment for that position. For the Instrument of Appointment to be effective, it must have been dated. Why would the powers that be, particularly the new Minister of National Security, allow such an occurrence?

One would have been able to let this slide if the terms and conditions were already set in stone and any appointee was simply governed by same. But Gary Griffith now has the ability to negotiate his payment package and associated terms of engagement having already been appointed to the job.

He, therefore has more bargaining power than you or I think. Imagine the prospects of the Government offending the top cop at the risk of having to tell the population that it no longer has a Commissioner of Police. It has already told the Police Service Commission that its process was flawed but used the same resultant list to choose Gary Griffith who featured somewhere at the lower end. Deodath Dulalchan was at ‘numero uno,’ but for him the process was flawed.

The public is already furious over the fact that a group of politicians (PNM) have gotten together to appoint another politician (Gary Griffith) to a top position which should be independent of political influences.

What is more stabbing to the population is the fact that Gary Griffith will be paid for this period for which he is not even working. Whatever his salary, whether $130,000 or $40,000 per month, and whatever his date of assumption of duties, he will get his demanded salary paid from the date of his Instrument of Appointment.

Should the negotiations over Griffith’s terms and conditions and requisite approval of the Chief Personnel Officer take a lengthy period of time to get done, Griffith’s salary will still be paid from the date he obtained his instrument earlier this week. Without having worked a single day, taxpayers who are already stretched killing themselves to purchase text books for their kids, will be paying their newly appointed but non-working Commissioner of Police. This is absurd!

Mr Kazim Hosein, Minister of Local Government, is on record as saying that law-abiding citizens were now afraid of the criminals. The Minister was speaking at the Municipal Police Induction Training Programme last Tuesday. According to Hosein, addressing the crime problem meant going into communities that have been forgotten for too long.

This seemed to be a concession by him that is exactly what happened under the present administration. Law-abiding citizens have become afraid of criminals and many communities have simply been forgotten.

Whilst the Minister was in anticipation of Griffith’s appointment—“I believe Griffith is the right man for this job”—he said nothing about the appointment of Minister Stuart Young as Minister of National Security.

Minister Hosein’s silence is yet to be determined. However, why was there a need to remove former Minister Dillon from National Security and put Stuart Young instead? Could it be that there is high level of dissention in the rank and file of the PNM over the appointment of Griffith as Commissioner?

Alternatively, Young has traditionally launched attacks from PNM platforms about former PP Ministers having to face courts over matters which were outside his remit. Some supporters of the PP/UNC are now wondering whether the appointment of Young and Griffith is to implement a plan to pursue certain former political allies whom he (Griffith) has fallen out of favour with.

Whilst the Cabinet reshuffle was announced, the Prime Minister was in Tobago and much to Watson Duke’s ire, “in ah short pants.” But this is nothing new. Tobago seems to be the agora for all decision making and political wielding. After all, Cabinet announced that all Corporations in Trinidad are to be audited but not a single word about Tobago.

An administrative error in the Tobago House of Assembly led to millions of dollars being sent to a wrong bank account. Tobago Jazz festival has been the subject of innumerable financial queries. Millions continue to be unaccounted for but not a single audit on Tobago. I return to what I started off with. Paying people for jobs that they are not even performing.

Here we go again!


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