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Thursday 14 December 2017
News

Judge stops promotion of cops

Several police officers whose promotion were supposed to be made public yesterday in the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS), were put on hold when a High Court judge stopped Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams from disclosing them.

An hour before the scheduled release at 9.30 am of a number of promotions to the rank of sergeant, Justice Margaret Mohammed granted an injunction to 11 police officers ordering Williams not to take any steps to promote any of them. The officers who sought the injunction have been awaiting from the TTPS's Promotion Advisory Board since 2016, their ratings in qualifying examinations for the rank of sergeant. They wrote letters, filed an injunction, but to no avail. Last month, Justice Joan Charles had ordered the board to provide the information, but even the judge's order has been disobeyed. The officers had also sought the ratings of the latest batch of officers who have been promoted, in order to compare the ratings.

Attorney Dinesh Rambally drafted the injunction until 2 am yesterday in preparation of an 8.30 am hearing before Justice Mohammed. The injunction outlined the fate of the officers who are: Ag Sergeant Audie Alexander Moona, Jerry London, Curt Douglas, Rene Katwaroo, Ramweshwar Gopaul, Daryl Theophilus, Jimmy Marcano, Dirk John, Anslem Knott and Terrence Salandy. The merit list was released on Monday to promote a number of sergeants. But in their lawsuit before Mohammed, they stated that due to a shortage of sergeants in the service, a number of them were called upon to act.

But way back in 2015, they were informed that they would be considered by the board for promotion and they would have been given an opportunity to engage in the process. In April 2016, a merit list was released, but their names were not on it. Pursuant to Section 19 (5) of the Police Service Act they applied to the board to be given their ratings in the qualifying examination. They did not even get an acknowledgement. An attorney wrote for them, and, in July last year, he was informed that the request was forwarded to the Solicitor General Department for consideration. In August last year, Rambally filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act. In October last year, they were given their ratings, however, they were not given the ratings of the officers who were promoted in order to assess whether they were unfairly prejudiced.

Last month, Justice Joan Charles made an order for the board to provide the information on or before August 17.

It was never forthcoming, but instead, the officers saw on Monday a new list in which several officers have been promoted and their names are not on that list. The announcement of the promotion was sheduled for yesterday by 9.30 am.

Yesterday, Rambally argued the injunction before Mohammed in which he informed the judge that the papers were served at the office of the commissioner. The judge granted an order of mandamus, compelling the board to provide the requested information.

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