PM: Police Commissioner has Government’s full support

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Prime Minister Dr Rowley – File photo by Ayanna Kinsale

THERE is no point in appointing a general to go to war for you, and you start undermining them the day after or whenever.

So said Dr Keith Rowley at a media conference on February 6 at Whitehall about Commissioner of Police (CoP) Erla Harewood-Christopher, who has been receiving criticisms for the police’s handling of the state of crime. He said she has the Government’s full support.

The Prime Minister said: “We have taken the position that while you are there in post carrying out the duty, you can count on the full support of the government until that has changed.”

“It makes no sense to put somebody there and then turn around, destroy the morale, and undermine them.”

He added that apart from the government, the population should support the police service, which he called troubled.

“By support, I do not mean support wrongdoing. I mean, support the vast majority of right-thinking police officers who are putting their lives on the line to defend us… And by the same token, we must eradicate the others who are unsuitable.”

The government had already started trying to properly screen and select people of a higher quality and greater commitment going into the police academy.

Rowley recalled that when Harewood-Christopher’s name came up in Parliament, recommended by the Police Service Commission, she got the support of all 41 MPs.

In February last year, when she was 59, the Cabinet extended Harewood-Christopher’s term by a year under Section 75 of the Police Service Act.

She turned 60 (retirement age) on May 15, last year. Her extension started on May 15, 2023, and ends on May 24, 2024.