A HIGH Court judge has ordered the retroactive promotion of a policewoman to the rank of sergeant.
Justice James Aboud on Friday ordered that Nina Rawlins be promoted to the higher rank, while declaring that the Police Commissioner breached regulation 156 of the Police Service Regulation by illegally bypassing her for promotion.
Rawlins, who was represented by attorneys Anand Ramlogan, SC, and Alana Rambaran of Freedom Law Chambers, filed a judicial review claim last year, challenging the commissioner’s decision.
She also successfully got the court to discharge an injunction which was hindering promotions in the police service.
The injunction was granted in August 2017, and extended in September, of that year, in a judicial review claim brought by 12 acting sergeants, effectively stopping promotions within the Second Division.
Rawlins argued she passed the promotion examination to the higher rank in 2008 and was successful at the interviews in January 2015. She is currently assigned to the Couva police station, and after her promotion interviews, she was placed on a merit list from which promotions to the rank of sergeant would be made.
Rawlins said she was told she had a disciplinary matter pending, but said she was never told about this. After she filed her judicial review claim, in February 2018, ASP Clint Arthur from the police human resource branch said there was no disciplinary matter against her and no impediment to her promotion.
She said she endured the indignity of seeing junior officers being promoted ahead of her in several rounds of promotions. She also said she was frustrated since she was deprived of the opportunity to advance her career, since she could not participate in promotion exercises to the rank of inspector, which is only available to those who held the rank of sergeant.
“This has had a domino effect on my eligibility for future acting appointments. Had I been promoted to the post of sergeant I would have been eligible to sit the promotion examinations for elevation to the rank of Inspector of Police,” she said in her claim.
In its defence at the trial before Justice Aboud, attorney Nairob Smart argued that the commission could not promote Rawlins retroactively, as there was no vacancy to accommodate such a long retroactive promotion.
Aboud, however, disagreed and ordered her retroactive promotion.
Attorney Stefan Jaikaran also represented the State.