President Paula-Mae Weekes. Photo: T&T Parliament
By Sue-Ann Wayow
OPPOSITION Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is calling on President Paula-Mae Weekes to immediately resign following the recommendation of attorney Ernest Koylass to the Police Service Commission (PolSC).
In a statement on Tuesday, Persad-Bissessar said Koylass’s strong People’s National Movement (PNM) ties did not earn him enough merit to be appointed to an independent body.
On Monday night at the United National Congress (UNC) virtual meeting, Persad-Bissessar claimed that Koylass was one of the nominees for a PolSC position and that the Opposition will not support it under any circumstances.
Given all the controversies surrounding the PolSC, Persad-Bissessar said Weekes was yet to give a public explanation for incidents raised in the public domain including if Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley met with her to interfere in the PolSC merit list for the position of Police Commissioner, a post previously held by Gary Griffith.
She said, “Given the controversial manner in which the Police Service Commission (PolSC) collapsed, one would have hoped that Her Excellency, President Paula-Mae Weekes would have exercised better judgment in attempting to repair the serious constitutional crisis that has arisen. However, based on Her Excellency’s nomination of attorney-at-law Mr Ernest Koylass, it is abundantly clear that Her Excellency has no intention of maintaining the critical independence of the PolSC.”
She again listed Koylass’s possible ties to the ruling party.
“Mr Koylass has a right to choose his political associations, but by no stretch of the imagination can he be considered free of political conflicts of interest,” she said.
Persad-Bissessar said the PolSC was already in limbo following the resignation of its four members, the selection of Koylass was “extremely alarming.”
The Opposition Leader stated, “Her Excellency is either wilfully seeking to obstruct the functioning of an independent PolSC through blatant political partisan appointments, or she is now taking instructions directly from the Rowley Government. This entire episode paints an extremely grim picture of our democracy under this Rowley Government. In order to protect the dignity of her esteemed office, Her Excellency must accept the part she has played in the sorry episode and immediately resign.”
The UNC National Women’s Arm and the UNC Youth Arm also issued releases in support of their leader’s call for the resignation of the President.
Retired Justice of Appeal Judith Jones and Maxine Attong are two nominees to fill the vacant PolSC positions, a release from the Office of the President on Tuesday stated.