On Wednesday, 18th May, 2011, the organisations were represented at a meeting to discuss crime at which, a resolution was produced which agreed with the government’s plan to implement a 10-point crime fighting plan. The resolution also made recommendations which included the “Appointment of a new Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security with the capacity and experience to address the current crisis…” and the “Speedy appointment of a new Commissioner of Police from outside the country with a local understudy.”
A press release issued by the Communications Unit of the Office of the Prime Minister (CUOPM) indicated that, the organisations “overstepped their bounds in publicly calling for the sacking of a top civil servant.”
It further indicated that the Prime Minister “labeled as ‘poor judgment’ a call by those organisations for the speedy appointment of a Commissioner of Police from outside the country.”
The CIC’s Response
The CIC, on behalf of the meeting held on Wednesday, 18th May, 2011, issued a press release on 25th May, 2011 indicating that – contrary to the indication given in the CUOPM press release – it did not call for the sacking of the National Security Permanent Secretary.
“Mr. Charles Wilkin Q.C speaking on behalf of the Chamber in the absence abroad of its
President Mr. Michael Morton said that the organisations referred to had not called for the sacking of any civil servant. A meeting of Civil Society organisations on Wednesday 18th May 2011 resolved that it has no confidence in the capability of the Permanent Secretary of National Security to manage implementation of the Government crime initiative and called for the appointment of a new Permanent Secretary in the Ministry with the capacity and experience to address the current crisis. The Prime Minister well knows that a Permanent Secretary can be replaced in any Ministry without being sacked. His categorization in that manner of the resolution is therefore incorrect, misleading and unfortunate.”
The release further indicated that the portion of the resolution which spoke to the appointment of a new Commissioner of Police (COP) was also misconstrued.
“Mr. Wilkin said that the resolution of the meeting regarding the appointment of a Commissioner of Police had also been twisted in the release issued by the Press Secretary. The exact language of the resolution is ‘the speedy appointment of a new Commissioner of Police from outside the country with a local understudy’.”
Underscoring the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution, Wilkin said the right to free speech is afforded to all adding that CIC will continue expressing its views on crime whether or not they are accepted or welcomed.
The Chamber, according to the press release, continues to stand behind its resolution and “Mr. Wilkin reiterated the (organisation’s) sincere commitment to contribute to the crime
initiative, for which the Government has ultimate responsibility, and to work with the
Government to bring about its success.”