Gary Griffith is at present just a civilian and holds no power, according to National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds.
Hinds said there is only one acting Police Commissioner at present and that is McDonald Jacob.
In an interview with former minister Bhoendradatt Tewarie on his Brighter Morning programme yesterday, Hinds said Griffith is not the substantive acting Police Commissioner.
He said the National Security Council had information before it which it could not ignore and informed the Police Service Commission (PolSC).
He said the PolSC continued its work and it appointed former Justice Stanley John to investigate some of those matters.
“The reason I would not say acting Commissioner because as you know his contract expired on the 17th of September (August) and a few days later he applied to me as Minister of National Security for no-pay leave to travel abroad for ten working days,” said Hinds.
“I approved that leave and as a consequence of his absence from the job, the Police Service Commission, in its own deliberations exercising its Constitutional authority, appointed Mr McDonald Jacob to act as Commissioner and he’s still in the chair today and it can only have one acting Commissioner,” he added.
‘Unlawful and legal action was taken’
The minister said from the time Griffith was appointed to act as Commissioner there were some who felt that was unlawful and legal action was taken to challenge that acting appointment.
He said, on the other hand, there are those who argue that Griffith is acting Commissioner and he can be that until up to when the process to select a substantive Commissioner is completed and any action to tell him to stay away from the job is improper.
He said Jacob is expected to carry out the work of the Police service now in a leadership position.
Jacob on the job
Meanwhile, Jacob told the Express yesterday he does not see there being two acting Police Commissioners when asked if it was awkward to have two top cops.
He noted that someone is acting in his substantive position as Deputy Police Commissioner (DCP) and he’s acting as Police Commissioner.
“I have a letter from the Service Commission to be acting as the Commissioner of Police. I don’t see it that there are two acting Commissioners per se. Remember if someone is on vacation leave, they are on vacation leave and this is something that is customary within the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service that you will have an ACP who may now proceed on vacation leave and someone is acting in the ACP’s place,” he said.
“Whether or not that ACP is acting in Trinidad or Venezuela or Tokyo, the point is that person is still an ACP but this person is carrying out their functions like if they were not on vacation leave,” he said.
Asked if in his mind he’s the substantive acting Police Commissioner , he said “well I am, I have a letter from the (Police) Service Commission stating so.”
He said it is not the first time a police commissioner proceeded on vacation leave and in his absence others continue to hold the reins.