A high court judge has granted leave to a retired police corporal to challenge a decision of the Commissioner of Police to reclassify his sick leave without any explanation.
Ashram Pariagsingh, who was a policeman for 37 years, was assigned to the La Brea Police Station when on May 8, 2012, he slipped and fell on the wet floor at the back of the station. His lawsuit claimed the area became slippery because of a leaking pipe. The fall caused serious back injuries, the man claimed.
According to his lawsuit, the Human Resources Department of the Police Service classified his sick leave as injury leave with pay. Three years later, Ag Commissioner Stephen Williams reversed and classified Pariagsingh’s leave as extended sick leave with no pay. He also told Pariagsingh he would have to repay all salaries and benefits from May 2012 to March 2016.
Pariagsingh said he is unable to work and was shocked and disappointed as he did not have any money to make such a massive retroactive payment. He said Williams was threatening to deduct these sums from his gratuity and retirement benefits which meant he would have no financial cushion in his later years and would be unable to finance medical bills and medication.
Faced with mounting medical bills and this bleak prospect, Pariagsingh’s attorney Anand Ramlogan, SC, wrote to Williams asking him to reconsider his decision on the ground that it was harsh, oppressive and unfair.
Justice Frank Seepersad, in granting leave, took note of Pariagsingh’s unblemished record of service and the fact that an internal investigation confirmed he fell and injured himself while on duty. Also representing Pariagsingh were Douglas Bayley instructed by Chelsea Stewart. The State was represented by Mary Davis and Niquelle Nelson Granville, instructed by Nairob Smart.