Canadian Dwayne Gibbs will be Trinidad and Tobago's new Commissioner of Police (CoP). Gibbs, 54, is a retired Chief Superintendent of Police in Alberta, Canada and holds a doctorate in management.
He is excepted to arrive in Port-of-Spain shortly assume office. James Philbert will continue to act as CoP until Gibbs assumes office, which is expected to be by the end of July.
The country's Parliament approved the nomination of Gibbs Friday, one week after it rejected another Canadian, Neal parker, for the post.
While Parker had all the qualifications and was rated as the number one candidate, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar told the House of Representatives there was an apparent conflict of interest involing Parker.
Gibbs was the second person on the merit list. The government approved the nomination with its strong majority with the opposition abstaining on the vote.
Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley raised concerns about Gibbs’ qualifications. Rowley had also stated previously his party would not support a foreigner for the post.
But government House leader Dr Roodal Moonilal suggested that was a contradiction because Rowley voted with the PNM government in 2008 to reject the nomination of a Stephen Williams for the post.
Williams, a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, was the top ranked candidate for the job but then Prime Minister Patrick Manning used his veto to reject him, stating that Williams did not have the experience needed for the job.
Manning also said the recruitment process was flawed, a charge that the Police Service Commission (PSC) rejected. The PSC later appointed James Philbert to act and has so far given him four extensions. His latest contract ends in September.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar agrees with the principle of appointing a national to the post. However she said the current law must be applied and pledged to review it with a view to ensuring that future commissioners are nationals.
Moonilal noted that the process to recruit a police commissioner cost the government about $8 million and suggested that any new law should address that problem and simplify the cumbersome and expensive process.