It was recently announced, by the Government Information Service, that the Protective Service Commission has approved the appointment of Mr. Oral Williams on promotion to the post of Deputy Commissioner of Police in the Royal Barbados Police Force, with effect from May 1, 2020.
I really don’t know if I should congratulate or offer commiserations to Mr. Williams. This has nothing to do with his fitness for the post. I do not know of his work or performance as a senior police officer and cannot speak to his fitness. My concern is that he has been appointed to a non-existent post, since someone is already substantively appointed Deputy Commissioner.
The Police Act, Chapter 167 of the Laws of Barbados, states at section 6:
The Force shall consist of a Commissioner, a Deputy Commissioner and such number of Assistant Commissioners, Superintendents, Inspectors, subordinate police officers and constables respectively as does not exceed the number provided by any order made under section 2 of the Civil Establishments Act: but the members of the Force at 16th October 1961, shall continue to be members of the Force and shall be subject to this Act.
The number of persons appointed to the post of Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner is subject to primary legislation, in this case the Police Act, and can only be changed by an amendment to that Act done in Parliament. On the other hand, the Police Act goes on to give the Minister responsible for Civil Establishments the power, by subsidiary legislation, to determine the number of Assistant Commissioners, Superintendents, Inspectors, subordinate police officers and constables.
For completeness, the Civil Establishments Act was repealed and replaced by the Public Service Act on December 31, 2007. The power to determine the number of posts in the Public Service is now found at section 13.(1) of the Public Service Act.
The power to make appointments to public offices and to remove and to exercise disciplinary control over persons holding or acting in the Public Service is vested in the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of service commissions, in this case the Protective Service Commission. That service commission, like all others in Barbados, can only recommend the appointment of persons to post that are available. There is only one post of Deputy Commissioner available and that is already filled.
Who is responsible for this cock-up? Is this yet another example of this Government not getting anything right the first?