-more ranks file legal challenges
ATTORNEY General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, SC, on Tuesday, disclosed that he has had discussions with Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), Paul Slowe, regarding the legal challenge before the High Court to block the 2020 year-end police promotions.
Nandlall was, at the time, addressing Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George, SC, at a hearing for the case filed by Senior Superintendent of Police, Calvin Brutus, against the PSC.
Brutus, in his legal documents, claims that he was bypassed for a promotion due to an ongoing investigation. Brutus believes the action by the commission was irrational, unreasonable, arbitrary, and unlawful.
Nandlall told the court that despite Mr Slowe, a retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, being in Bangladesh performing duties with the West Indies cricket team, they had met via Zoom. Based on the preliminary discussions with Slowe, the parties are on a “path to resolution.”
The parties are expected to meet again on Friday, and will continue to meet until a resolution is met. Nandlall, in turn, is expected to update the court on the outcome of the meetings, on February 5. Meanwhile, several other senior ranks have filed cases to challenge their promotion bypass.
Superintendents, Ravindra Stanley and Shivpersaud Manni Bacchus; Assistant Superintendent of Police, Shavon Jupiter; and Inspector of Police, Prem Narine, have moved to the court seeking reliefs similar to those being pursued by Brutus.
Police officers Dennis Stephen, Hugh Winter, Monica Washington, Edmond Cooper, Kurleigh Simon Stanton, and Phillip Azore were, on Tuesday,
admitted as interested parties in the case by the CJ.
Brutus is asking the court to grant a declaration that the policy of the PSC not to promote or consider for promotion officers with pending disciplinary matters before it is unlawful.
He is also asking for a declaration that he is entitled to be promoted to the office of Assistant Commissioner of Police.
Further, he is seeking an Order of Certiorari quashing, nullifying and/or cancelling the decision of the PSC to deny him the appointment to the office of Assistant Commissioner of Police.
He is also praying for an Order of Certiorari quashing, nullifying and/or cancelling the decision of the PSC to promote Cooper, Philip and Kurleigh
Simon, who are all Senior Superintendents of Police, to the office of Assistant Commissioner of Police.
Lastly, he is asking the court to grant an Order of Mandamus compelling the commission to reconsider its decision not to promote him in accordance with law, and in accordance with his legitimate expectation.
Five officers – Brutus, Wendell Blanhum, Ravindranauth Budhram, Errol Watts and Fazil Karimbaksh have been recommended for promotion by the Commissioner of Police. However, the PSC had taken a decision to promote Blanhum, Budhram, Watts, Cooper, Azore and Simon to that rank.
“It has been the practice of the commission not to promote police officers with pending disciplinary complaints, regardless of the nature or seriousness of such complaints. Trivial and unsubstantiated complaints have been accorded the same weight as grave or serious allegations of indiscipline in denying promotion to those against whom disciplinary complaints have been lodged with the commission,” Brutus’ court documents stated.
Brutus was appointed to the rank of Senior Superintendent of Police in 2015. In October 2019, it was alleged by the Deputy Commissioner – Administration, that Brutus committed a breach of discipline. The commission appointed Assistant Commissioner, Royston Andires-Junor to investigate that allegation.
A breach of discipline notice was not served upon Brutus until October 2020. The investigation has not progressed beyond the issuance of the breach of discipline notice. In keeping with its practice, the commission purportedly refused and/or failed to consider and/or denied Brutus for promotion to the office of Assistant Commissioner of Police, relying on the said allegation of indiscipline. “The allegation is frivolous. The applicant knows of no other reason why he was denied the promotion he was recommended for,” the document stated.
According to the court documents, Cooper, Azore and Simon, who are being promoted outside of the recommendation of the Commissioner of Police, are under investigation for alleged disciplinary and/or criminal offences. The said officers were promoted to the rank of Senior Superintendent in the years 2016, 2017 and 2017 respectively, and were, therefore, junior to Brutus.