President Irfaan Ali’s extension of Police Commissioner Clifton Hicken’s appointment beyond the age of retirement was legally done, says the country’s Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall. During his recent “Issues in the News” programme, the senior politician flayed critics for suggesting that the president erred by granting the extension to an official acting as the country’s Top Cop.

Nandlall said nothing in the Constitution or any other law confines the extension of tenure to the holder of that office to substantive appointees only. In fact, he argued that the holder of that office – acting or otherwise – enjoys all the accompanying powers, facilities and privileges.

Article 211 (2) states, “If the office of Commissioner of Police is vacant or if the holder thereof is for any reason unable to perform the functions of his office, a person may be appointed to act in that office and the provisions of the preceding paragraph shall apply to such an appointment as they apply to the appointment of a person to hold that office; and any person appointed to act in the office of Commissioner of Police shall, subject to the provisions of paragraphs (3) and (4), continue to act until a person has been appointed to that office and has assumed the functions thereof or, as the case may be until the holder thereof resumes those functions.”

The AG said that while the constitution does not specifically provide for an extension of service beyond the retirement age of 55, the Constitution Prescribed Matters Act, Chapter 27:12, Act 21 of 1967, has provisions.

“This act permits the President to inter alia, extend the tenure of a Commissioner of Police beyond his retirement age, provided that the President receives a recommendation from the Police Service Commission (PSC) and the President has so received a recommendation from the PSC,” Nandlall said.

According to the act, the extension can not exceed five years.


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