West: Service commissions working to fill vacancies

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Public Administration Minister Allyson West. – File photo

PUBLIC Administration Minister Allyson West has said the $4,140,000 supplementation to funding for services commissions department in the 2023/2024 budget is to help various commissions address matters such as filling vacancies in institutions under their remit and paying legal fees for ongoing legal matters.

She made these comments before the Standing Finance Committee of the House of Representatives approved the supplementation on June 3.

Responding to questions from opposition MPs on ongoing legal matters involving service commissions, West said there were five such matters.

Barataria/San Juan MP Saddam Hosein asked about the names of attorneys engaged in these matters and the fees being paid to them.

West identified Douglas Mendes, SC, Russell Martineau, SC, Deborah Peake, SC and Ian Benjamin, SC, as the the attorneys in question.

She was uncertain whether an estimate of their fees could be provided at this stage, as the legal matters in question are not concluded.

Hosein asked if an entity had been contracted by the Police Service Commission (PSC) with respect to the possible selection of officers to fill vacancies in top positions in the police service.

West said no such entity has been chosen.

Committee chairman Bridgid Annisette-George disallowed a question from Hosein about the PSC selecting candidates for the post of commissioner of police (CoP).

Incumbent CoP Erla Harewood-Christopher’s tenure in office was extended by a year from May 15. This was announced in a statement issued by the Office of the Prime Minister on May 13.

The statement said on May 7 Cabinet advised President Christine Kangaloo to do so under Section 75(a) of the Police Service Act.

In response to another question, from Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal, West said part of the supplementation with respect to the Integrity Commission involved filling the post of registrar there.