Wheel and come again, Madame Prime Minister.
That’s the suggestion from President of the Democratic Labour Party, Verla DePeiza, who today issued a statement indicating that other than political grandstanding yesterday, Prime Minister Mia Mottley had still not addressed the legitimacy of the appointment of Oral Williams to the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police.
Referring to a statement by Mottley that in February this year she had signed a statutory instrument, which was laid in the House on March 3 and in the Senate on March 11 that established a post for a second Deputy Commissioner, DePeiza suggested that the Prime Minister had gotten her law wrong.
Depeiza noted that certain procedures to legitimize the amendment to the Public Service Act had not been done and Williams was still functioning in a post that did not legally exist.
DePeiza said that under section 13 (3) of the Public Service Act, the Minister could establish posts by an Order but that Order needed to be passed by affirmative resolution, which she explained meant it had to be debated and voted on in both Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament. The longstanding attorney-at-law asserted that this was never done.
“This is necessary because subsidiary legislation (like Orders) cannot impliedly repeal primary legislation (Acts of Parliament). This is different from just qualifications, which by subsection (4) can be done by negative resolution (no vote unless someone objects). So simply signing an Order and laying it in Parliament will not create the post. It has to be subject to a debate and a vote in both Houses, which has not happened,” DePeiza stressed.
The DLP leader said what was even more concerning was that Attorney General Dale Marshall had admitted that Williams had been employed since May 2019.
“No amount of political grandstanding will detract from the fact that a public officer has been functioning in a post that does not exist,” she said.
Erwin Boyce was officially appointed Deputy Commissioner of Police in 2018 after acting in the position for about five years. That lengthy gap was occasioned by litigation before the law courts brought by other members of the force with respect to other promotions. Boyce had replaced the late Acting Deputy Commissioner Seymour Cumberbatch. (WG)
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