THE discharging of an injunction in the High Court on Friday, which hindered promotions within the TT Police Service, has the potential to motivate Second Division officers especially sergeants and inspectors, long been disenchanted by the inability to advance their careers.
This was the view of president of the Police Social and Welfare Association Insp Michael Seales. In welcoming the ruling handed down by Justice Joan Charles, Seales yesterday described the development as exciting.
“The association saw the lifting of the injunction as exciting and knows that this has the potential to motivate the beleaguered Second Division,” he told Sunday Newsday.
“A lot has been said in terms of the Second Division and they are the driving force of the Police Service.” Seales said he expects that by the end of this week, all vacancies would be filled in relation to sergeants who have been poised for promotion to the rank of inspector.
“Because it cannot be a situation where you have that stagnation for over four years that officers have been waiting in such a way. It is one of the decisions that will stand out for policemen.
"They will understand that they can now breathe a sigh of relief. If the Second Division can get it right, then the Police Service can get it right.” Seales said it was unfortunate that acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams did not put “due consideration” in trying to remedy some of the issues with regards to promotions, particularly sergeants and inspectors. “It is unfortunate that it took a court decision to point him in the right direction.”
Cpl Nina Rawlins had sought to have the injunction lifted in the court after passing the promotion examination to the higher rank in 2008. She also was successful at promotion interviews in January 2015.
But Rawlins had initially been bypassed for promotion because of a pending disciplinary matter. She claimed she was never told about disciplinary proceedings against her. Seales yesterday praised Rawlins for taking the matter to court
“I hail the claimant for her braveness in taking the matter to court. And I also commend the judge for seeing it for what it is. This has the opportunity to free up the administrative issues and let us move on.
"The issue for the policeman must not be the issue of promotion and whether there will be upward mobility or career advancement. What it should always be is the ability to serve the public and to be in service of our countrymen.”
Seales said there were numerous vacancies to be filled within the service. He said there were existing vacancies for more than 100 sergeants and 33 inspectors, already on the merit list.
“But because of what has happened, they are not able to move forward because you have persons on vacation leave and because the persons are on vacation leave, they occupy the position only until they come to the last day of their career that the persons who are waiting can move forward. Those are some of the troubling issues.”
Describing promotions within the First Division as a “nightmare,” Seales said there were also more than 150 vacancies to be filled within the Third Division.
“But again, they way the assessment has to be done and the inactivity of having no assessment has put us in peril of almost a deadlock situation that we cannot easily cure even if you do a number of assessments.
“You actually have to waiver the rules to actually get persons forward in order to free up not just the First Division but the Second Division for the lower officers to move forward.”