MP Charles tells top cop: Stop being Government’s ‘yes man’

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

File photo: Rodney Charles

NAPARIMA MP Rodney Charles is challenging acting Commissioner of Police McDonald Jacob to do his job and stop being a “yes man” for government.

He said in a press release on Thursday that Jacob must not appear to be one of the main supporting cast members for walkabouts, press conferences and photo ops with National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds, whom Charles described as clueless and incompetent.

“There must be a sharp distinction between politicians and independent professionals.”

He said this continued partnership may create the public perception of an absence of separation of powers between the executive and the police.

The post of police commissioner must be one that at all times is impartial, unbiased and neutral, but Charles said the relationship between Jacob and Hinds “is far too close for comfort.”

File photo: Acting Police Commissioner McDonald Jacob.

He warned Jacob to be wary of Hinds’ continued use of his presence at press briefings and community walkabouts, in the absence of any performance-based plan or policy to put a handle on crime.

“It may give the impression that you are supportive of his failures as a minister.”

He had a pointed question to the top cop: “Are you content with siding with the hapless and inept minister?”

Charles said the minister made woeful predecessors Edmund Dillon and Stuart Young look like top performers.

“Your job is to challenge the minister, ask the hard-hitting questions, suggest an effective crime plan, demand resources to fight crime and force the minister to do his job or resign.

“Yet any opportunity with Hinds, you seem to support his baseless, political nonsense. We do not want to believe you are now a political puppet for the Government.”

Charles gave six instances when Jacob accompanied Hinds on public activities “designed as PR stunts”:
The recent visit to the Rose Hill community;
Speaking at a press conference alongside Hinds pleading for the extension of the Bail (Amendment) Act, 2019 in June.
Speaking together earlier this year about the prevalence of illegal guns as well as the use of legal firearms being part of the crime problem.
A visit to Enterprise, Chaguanas in October to speak about increased police patrols.
Speaking together at a press briefing in May, both on the importance of youth programmes in ending the cycle of violence.
 Jacob being summoned to a Cabinet retreat in July where he held talks with the PM, Hinds and others.

Crime has Trinidad and Tobago in a state of crisis, and without independent-minded, critical thinkers at the helm of the National Security apparatus, criminals will continue to cause havoc, Charles predicted, as he added, “TT does not need PNM yes-men.”