PCA recommended disciplinary action

The Police Complaints Authority recommended disciplinary action against Deodath Dulalchan—the top nominee for the post of Police Commissioner—but details of the letter have been sealed.

Dulalchan, the acting Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations), has been named in at least two allegations since news of him being the top candidate was revealed last week.

Contacted by the T&T Guardian on the issue of the letter Director of the PCA, David West, said: “I have signed a confidentiality agreement with officers involved in the recruitment process for the selection of a Commissioner of Police and a Deputy Commissioner of Police and therefore I have no comment.”

But well-placed sources told the T&T Guardian that the letter from the head of the PCA to the PSC chairman Maria Gomes dated December 27, last year identified three issues involving Dulalchan, with a recommendation for immediate disciplinary action.

Gomes and Dulalchan could not be reached on their mobile phones for comment. Two PSC members contacted by the T&T Guardian referred questions on the matter to Gomes.

Dulalchan has been a police officer for 37 years and during his career, he worked in various divisions and has been acting as the Deputy Police Commissioner in charge of Operations for the past two years. He has been named as the Gold Commander for this year’s Carnival.

There are also claims that Dulalchan was somehow involved in the disbanding of a particular Driving Under the Influence Task Force in the TTPS after a relative was arrested and charged.

A document dated August 29, 2017, to the Commissioner of State Lands also reported Dulalchan, as senior superintendent and his alleged involvement in a matter involving a farmer who has occupied and cultivated plots for the past 15-16 years.

It is alleged that Dulalchan initially only applied for the position of Deputy Police Commissioner and it was during the interviewing process he was asked whether he would consider applying for the post of Police Commissioner.

Well-placed sources told the T&T Guardian that Gomes and another Commissioner Dinanath Ramkissoon voted in favour of Dulalchan for the job of top cop, two other Commissioners, attorney Martin George and retired Commodore Anthony Franklin did not support the recommendation and voted against. With only four members on the Commission, Gomes then used her casting vote as chair to break the deadlock.

Senior Counsel Martin Daly told the T&T Guardian that while the chairman does have an “original and a casting vote,” it would be “highly unusual” in his experience to “force a vote “over something like this, a matter involving the engagement of personnel.”

In such a situation, Daly said: “You try to get consensus.” But what was also “even more irregular,” he said is the fact that “you were engaging someone for a high position for which the person did not apply.”

Daly said the country needs to know “what provoked that kind of dissension. This is major dissension. It is important to know what material was before them that provoked that dissension,” Daly said.

Gomes appointment as chairman of the Commission came to an end yesterday and Daly said: “I do not believe that the chairman should be re-appointed until there is a proper investigation into what went on. It has nothing to do with the transition period. I am not taken with the argument that an incoming President means that the incumbent must mash brakes, he or she must be cautious and it must depend on a case-by-case basis.”

But he said before Gomes is re-appointed “you need to know what provoked this kind of dissension. This is major dissension, we can’t have some kind of knee-jerk reappointment on allegations which are so far un-contradicted, ” he said.

Daly said the President should call in the Commissioners and determine “what went wrong.”

What transpired, he said, is an indication of just why it is so important for Commissions such as the PSC to be “fully staffed.” There is one vacancy on the PSC.

The T&T Guardian understands that the consultation process for the appointment of a chairman of the PSC has started. But sources could not say whether there is a recommendation to re-appoint Gomes.

Since February last year, the PSC has had only four members including the chairman.

Source: www.guardian.co.tt (Rosemarie Sant)