T&T Top Cop, Deputy likely to be axed
(Trinidad Guardian) Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs and his deputy Jack Ewatski are reportedly under the gun. Cabinet sources confirmed to Sunday Guardian that the contracts of both men are under review, as they have failed to meet the expectations of the public and get a handle on the spiralling crime situation.
On Friday, the contracts and performances of the top cops were reportedly discussed at a meeting that included Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, chairman of the Police Service Commission Prof Ramesh Deosaran, National Security Minister Jack Warner and a senior police officer.
The man being tipped for the job, if Gibbs’ three-year contract is terminated before it expires, is deputy commissioner of police Stephen Williams, well-placed sources told Sunday Guardian. The meeting took place at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s. Sources said Warner was expected to attend another meeting Saturday morning with the PM. He was also scheduled to attend an event in south Trinidad, but never showed up.
On the local election campaign trail, the PM had warned that a “specific clause” in Gibbs’ contract allowed him to be terminated if he did not perform. Williams had failed to find favour with the People’s National Movement (PNM) administration. The PNM’s choice was James Philbert, while the United National Congress was in support of Williams.
The performance of Gibbs and Ewatski has come under scrutiny from Warner since he was sworn in as the new National Security Minister. And in more than one instance, Warner has placed Gibbs in an awkward position in public, where he was asked to explain the reason for the high level of crime in certain areas. Gibbs and Ewatski are currently challenging the unsatisfactory appraisals they received from the Police Service Commission.
Both men had refused to sign the appraisals. Gibbs’ selection for the position of Police Commissioner was announced in Parliament in July 2010, one week after Canadian Neal Parker was rejected. Penn State had earlier recommended Williams for the top-cop post, but he was rejected by the former PNM government. Gibbs and Ewatski arrived from Canada in September 2010 to assume duties.
Almost two years later, and with no significant reductions in the crime rate, both men have been faced with a barrage of criticisms from politicians, the T&T Police Service and the public.