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Dulalchan cautious as State reclaims land

Published: 
Saturday, March 17, 2018
DCP Deodat Dulalchan the Police Service Commission’s choice for T&T next Police Commissioner. Photo by:ABRAHAM DIAZ

Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Deodat Dulalchan is adopting a wait and see approach following a decision by the Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat to reclaim several acres of State land in Felicity which was granted to Dulalchan by the Commissioner of State Lands.

In an interview yesterday, Dulalchan declined any comment on the matter.

“You will realise that all through this last month and a half I have not been saying anything and I will just leave it at that for the time being,” when asked to comment.

Asked whether he had been asked to vacate the land which he had fenced, Dulalchan again declined comment saying only “let’s wait and see how things play out.”

He declined to comment on whether he was under investigation or whether the allegations had affected his job.

“I serving the country for the last almost 38 years to the best of my ability,” and had given “my all to the service.”

Dulalchan emerged as the top nominee of the Police Service Commission for the job of Commissioner of Police after a lengthy and expensive process. A parliamentary Special Select Committee is examining the process used by the PSC in coming to that decision.

Asked whether he felt that the recommendation had anything to do with the complaint made against him to Rambharat by farmers who had been occupying the land, Dulalchan again declined comment.

He said he remained focused on his job which was to protect and serve the people of this country.

“I have a couple more years to give and I will continue to work assiduously,” he said.

Dulalchan said he was committed “to continue to give of my best because I believe I have a duty to support all the police officers from top to bottom because we have a job to reduce crime and to reduce the fear of crime in Trinidad and Tobago.”

Three top officials have been suspended pending an investigation by the Public Service Commission into the issue of the land, which was “granted” to Dulalchan by letter—Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Angela Siew, Commissioner of State Lands Paula Drakes and the Deputy Commissioner of State Lands Bhanmatie Seecharan.

BACKGROUND INFO

Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat, in an interview on Thursday, said for land to have been allocated by a letter “there must be serious breaches of procedure and practice for that to happen. That is unprecedented action in my experience.”

Red flags were raised when Rambharat received a letter from farmer Selvin Mahabir who indicated that he had occupied the land in Felicity which had been given to Dulalchan, for close to 14 years and felt he had a right to the continued occupation. Investigators from the Ministry were assigned to probe the matter.

Rambharat subsequently submitted a report to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley in which he indicated that he had “lost trust” in the officers. It was on the basis of that report that the three officials were suspended.

Dulalchan registered as a farmer with Agriculture Ministry’s County Caroni Extension on October 2, 2017. Days after he obtained approval to occupy the State land.

Farmers Satesh Maraj, Bhola Ramdass, Dindi Tarbanie and Mahabir were said to be displaced as a result of Dulalchan being granted the State Land at the Bernard Road Food Project. But whether the land will be returned to the farmers, Rambharat said: “Is a decision for Cabinet to make as part of it is dealing with a large block of land in that area.”

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