Acting Police Commissioner Mc Donald Jacob is expected to return from vacation today, but uncertainty now surrounds his continued tenure as the head of the T&T Police Service (TTPS), since he is yet to receive any correspondence regarding an extension of his contract.
Jacob proceeded on 35 days’ vacation leave on December 7, 2022, following which acting Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Erla Christopher was appointed to act in his absence.
Guardian Media understands that up to 8 pm yesterday, Jacob was unaware of what would transpire today and had effectively been left without an office as he had not received any extension of his acting appointment.
However, legal sources last night indicated that authorities had until midnight today to present such correspondence to Jacob.
Guardian Media was reliably informed, however, that Christopher’s 79 days of vacation leave has also been bought out, which effectively means that she will continue to act as CoP until the Police Service Commission (PolSC) announces who has been selected to lead the TTPS.
This announcement is expected to be made within the next two weeks.
Prior to his acting appointment as CoP on December 17, 2022, Jacob was appointed DCP on May 1, 2021, after he was selected as the top candidate in the assessment process.
Shortly after, Jacob, who was supposed to proceed on eight months pre-retirement leave, was granted permission to work by then-Police Commissioner Gary Griffith.
However, Guardian Media was reliably informed that the three-year civilian contract which was given to Jacob to act as CoP, was deemed null and void by the PolSC in January 2022, following advice received from senior counsel.
At that time, the PolSC was advised to treat with the matter under Section 75 of the Police Service Act, which allowed Jacob to continue for one year in the first instance; following which recommendations would have to be made for a second year; and a similar recommendation for a third year.
While Jacob served the initial year without any hiccups, Guardian Media was told a decision was made not to extend the contract pending the outcome of the assessment currently taking place for a substantive CoP.
If Jacob, who turns 61 tomorrow, is not retained to act as the CoP after today, he will cease to be a serving member of the TTPS, as his career service would have ended.
At least four of the applicants vying for the post of CoP are over 60 years of age.
Guardian Media was told that Jacob completed his interviews and assessments for the CoP position, while today is expected to be the final round of interviews conducted by the PolSC.
A recommendation for Jacob to continue in the post would have had to have been made by the Cabinet to the President.
Several calls to National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds for comment on the scenario went unanswered last night, while repeated attempts to contact Jacob were also unsuccessful.
Rumours abound that Christopher has “unofficially” been selected as the CoP until the PolSC process is completed. This, sources say, is reportedly evidenced by the fact that Christopher moved into the CoP’s official residence at the St James Barracks two days after she assumed the acting post and refurbishment that has been done at the official residence, which included changing of the furniture.