Members of the Police Service Commission (PSC) are being told they do not have to resign, despite a letter from Minister of Home Affairs Edmund Hinkson asking them to step down immediately.
Queen’s Counsel Hal Gollop, himself the chairman of the Employment Rights Tribunal, told Barbados TODAY this afternoon the appointment of the commissioners was not at the minister’s pleasure, and neither was their removal.
In fact, Gollop sought to make it clear that, unlike statutory boards, the appointment of the chairman and members of the PSC was a constitutional provision.
“A chairman [of the PSC] may be removed in the manner in which a judge is removed. That is, if he disqualifies himself through mental disability or for misconduct. So if neither of those is present, it really is left to the chairman himself, whether he would put the request through the Minister of Home Affairs to the test. I do not see it as one of those measures where the tenure of the officer, once he has been appointed, is at the discretion of the minister,” the attorney-at-law said.
Barbados TODAY reported last night that Hinkson had written to the members of the Guyson Mayers-led PSC asking them to immediately send their letters of resignation to Prime Minister Mia Mottley.
“I am directed to kindly request you to submit a letter placing your instrument of appointment as a member of the Police Service Commission at the disposal of the Prime Minister, The Honourable Mia Amor Mottley, QC, MP,” he stated in the letter, adding that he “looks forward to your early positive response”.
However, Gollop said this was “an interesting development” which Mayers may wish to weigh to determine whether he should step down or not.
“One would have to wait and see whether the chairman is sufficiently satisfied in the manner in which he holds the position, that he may choose to ignore the request,” he said, adding that the decision to request the commissioners’ resignation was a political rather than a constitutional one.
Mayers, an attorney-at-law, has come under fire for holding on to the position since his recent election as general secretary of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), with his critics charging it was a conflict of interest.
However, Gollop said it was not as clear cut as this, stressing that a conflict of interest was not automatic, but depended on the strength of character and integrity of the person.
“In the final analysis, it is left to the good sense of Mr Mayers to decide whether he can hold those two posts and act impartially in the post as chairman of the Police Service Commission. But I would not readily jump and be judgmental and make aspersions that seem to suggest a conflict of interest, because a conflict of interest is not an automatic thing; it is not something that would naturally flow,” Gollop argued.
When Barbados TODAY reached Hinkson today, he said: “The Prime Minister of Barbados is the person who has responsibility for the Police Service Commission.” (EJ)