The Police Service Commission (PolSC) has withdrawn the suspension letter which it had issued on Friday, September 17, to Gary Griffith.
Withdrawal of the letter is based on his “intention… to voluntarily” go on leave, pending the completion of the investigation into the Firearm User’s Licences by former Justice Stanley John or until October 31. John is expected to complete his investigation by October 31.
The Commission’s letter of withdrawal, signed by chairman Bliss Seepersad, dated September 23 and addressed to Griffith, stated that the suspension letter was withdrawn “as you (Griffith) have signified your intention to defer the resumption of duty voluntarily”.
Sources said the letter of rescission is buttressed by an agreement which gives clear conditions of the arrangement arrived at between the two embattled parties. Sources also said there is an non-disclosure agreement and if this agreement falls, so does the letter of rescission.
The agreement is the basis of the chairman’s letter of September 23, sources said.
The chairman had previously been criticised by the three other members over the suspension letter. In fact, Susan Craig-James accused her of acting in breach of the rules of the commission which speak of decision-making by the majority of members.
Yesterday the maelstrom of conflicting activities in the ongoing Gary Griffith saga intensified. The PolSC, which had been limping along for the past week, finally collapsed yesterday with the resignation of Dr Susan Craig-James.
President Paula-Mae Weekes is in the process of reconstituting the Commission “at the soonest”.
Craig-James’ resignation leaves just two members—chairman Bliss Seepersad and Roger Kawalsingh—depriving the Commission of a quorum, which is three members. Sources said Kawalsingh’s resignation is expected tomorrow, further depleting the commission and leaving Seepersad as its sole member.
Kawalsingh has been written to by the President, who expressed her concerns about his conduct in the wake of revelations that he had copied an e-mail with confidential information relating to the commission’s deliberations, in particular its disagreements on the issue of the suspension letter, to Griffith. Commissioner Courtney McNish resigned last Tuesday.
The Office of the President yesterday issued a release announcing that the President had accepted Craig-James’ resignation. “The Commission now stands inchoate…There is a notification which is with the Parliament at this time and the Office of the President will make every effort to fill the two recent vacancies at the soonest,” the release said. The notification before the Parliament is for the appointment of Vincel Edwards, a former assistant commissioner of police. Edwards was the police officer who did the Report on the Day of Total Policing.
Even if the President were to issue new a notification, there is no sitting of the House of Representatives scheduled for Friday. The next scheduled sitting is budget day, which is Monday, October 4.
The news conference that didn’t happen
Adding to the conflict and confusion was also the on-again, off-again news conference involving Griffith.
The news conference, which was to be held at Police Headquarters in Port of Spain, had in fact received the sanction of the PolSC. Chairman Seepersad wrote to acting Commissioner McDonald Jacob on Friday at 11.57 a.m., requesting that “Mr Griffith is afforded all courtesies and respect of his office”.
The letter referred to a conversation with Jacob held earlier at 11.30 a.m. in which she stated: “It has been agreed that Mr Griffith will be coming into Office to host a press conference at noon tomorrow (Saturday). I will appreciate if you could ensure that all the necessary arrangements are made and that Mr Griffith is afforded all courtesies and respect of his office,” Seepersad said in a e-mail sent to Jacob, Griffith, and the commission’s attorneys, Russell Martineau and Deborah Peake.
But by yesterday morning, Jacob advised the media that the conference previously scheduled for noon yesterday at the Solomon McLeod Lecture Theatre, Fifth Floor, Police Administration Building, had been cancelled under further notice. The Sunday Express understands a news conference was part of the agreement hammered out between lawyers of the two embattled parties—Griffith and the PolSc. According to sources, the conference was for the sole purpose of Griffith announcing his decision to step aside until the end of the John investigation.