The government has defended the process in which it has appointed the new Chief of Police Cyril Carette despite accusations that it was done in absence of proper consultation with the Opposition Leader as required by the Constitution.
Cabinet Secretary Felix Gregoire sought to clear the air on the issue at a press conference at the Government Information Service this morning.
Gregoire is adamant that there was sufficient consultation on the matter and that the appointment was in keeping with Dominican law.
“It is legal,” Gregoire declared concerning the appointment. “The Prime Minister, in my presence, called the Leader of the Opposition on the matter. To me that is consultation and I am satisfied that there was consultation with the Leader of Opposition.”
The Cabinet Secretary said that Carrette was appointed Police Chief on March 11,2011 but his appointment took effect from September 20, 2010. Carette had acted in the position for over six months.
Since the appointment of Carette, Opposition Leader Hector John has been very vocal on the matter. He said he was not consulted and has labeled the appointment as “null and void”. He also labeled it as a sign of corruption. John claims for this reason the United Worker’s Party would not recognize Carette as Dominica’s Police Chief.
“The constitution does not give a description of what is consultation,” Gregoire stated in response to a question from the media which sought to clarify the amount of consultation which would be enough for an appointment.
Gregorie said that he had initially invited John to a meeting with the Prime Minister which would have taken place on March 10, 2011 but John said he was unavailable and could only attend on March 14.
The Cabinet Secretary explained, “Because I know the Leader of the Opposition I thought I could engage him in a discussion and I try to impress upon him that it was a very serious appointment to be made and therefore I would urge him to meet with the Prime Minister.”
Gregoire stated that Carrette’s job as Acting Police Chief was to expire on March 11th. “On the date of the expiration, there must be a new appointment and he (John) was indicating that he would be available on March 14th. There was enough time to make the appointment and it was in fact done,” Gregoire reiterated, adding, “In my estimation, there was consultation with the Leader of Opposition and the consultation between the Prime Minister and the Leader of Opposition.”
Gregoire assured that government business is conducted in accordance with the Constitution.
According to Section 92 of the Constitution of Dominica, “The power to appoint a person to hold or act in the office of Chief of Police or Deputy Chief of Police and, subject to the provisions of section 93 of this Constitution, the power to remove the Chief of Police or Deputy Chief of Police from office shall vest in the President, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, given after consultation with the Leader of the Opposition and the Police Service Commission.”