T&T parliament gives green light to first female police commissioner
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – The Trinidad and Tobago Parliament on Friday unanimously approved the nomination of Deputy Police Commissioner, Erla Harewood-Christopher, to become Trinidad and Tobago's first female police commissioner.
All 36 members of the Parliament, who were present when the vote was taken following a short debate, voted in favour of appointing Christopher to the top post replacing Gary Griffith, whose three-year term had expired on August 18, 2018.
There are 41 members in Parliament and among those absent when the vote was taken was Opposition Leader, Kamla Persad Bissessar..
Griffith was among several candidates who had sought the position, but the Police Service Commission (PSC) said Harewood-Christopher had emerged as the top candidate for the post.
During the debate, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley rejected claims from the Opposition that there was political interference in the selection of Christopher, who is due to retire from the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service in May when she reaches the age of 60.
However, he told legislators that the Police Service Act makes provisions for her to be in the post on a contractual basis.
Rowley had during his contribution, said that the PSC had nominated Harewood-Christopher, who had been acting in the post since December last year, “as the highest grade candidate”.
He described her as “very well qualified through training and academia” and told legislators that his administration was not surprised that the PSC would have listed her as the top applicant at this time.
Opposition legislator, Dr Roodal Moonilal, the only opposition legislator to speak during the debate, said that he had no problem with her qualifications.
But he said it was regrettable that she did not have any history of crime-fighting in the field.
“Whether that is an advantage or a disadvantage one could never tell,” he said, adding also that it was unfortunate that the names of those who were listed by the PSC as second and third, were not made public.
But he wished Harewood-Christopher “all the best in her endeavour” urging her also to be tough and strong.
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