A senior police officer from Tobago who challenged his promotion to a higher rank has been promoted.
Supt Collis Hazel was among 48 officers promoted by Police Commissioner Gary Griffith on Friday.
At Friday’s promotion ceremony, ten inspectors were promoted to the rank of assistant superintendent of police ASP; nine ASPs to Supt and 29 corporals to the rank of sergeant.
Griffith told the officers the police service was on the threshold of modernisation and transformation, and as leaders, they must be the catalyst of this change by the way they act and approach their duties.
He also urged them to operate at a high standard and remove rogue elements.
Griffith said there were systems to measure performance and improve the standard of the police, as he encouraged the promoted police officers to continue to serve with passion and pride.
He said the promotions were well-earned and deserved and assured them of his continued support and recognition.
On January 24, Hazel got the court’s permission to challenge Griffith over a decision to suddenly revoke the current merit list for promotion of police officers to the rank of superintendent.
He has been a police officer since November 1991 and in his claim he sought declarations that the commissioner’s decision to repeal the merit list was illegal and that he had a legitimate expectation that he would be promoted based on the 2018 merit list.
He asked the court to direct the commission to say why he decided to repeal the list and quash the decision. Hazel also wanted an order sending back the issue of his promotion to the commissioner for his consideration and a declaration that he was treated unfairly.
Hazel is represented by attorneys Anand Ramlogan, SC, Alana Rambaran and Alvin Pariagsingh.
He said he successfully passed the promotion examination for superintendent and was interviewed by the Promotion Advisory Board. He was placed 46 on the merit list. He said on September 4, 2018, the first batch of 45 officers on the list were promoted and he was next in line.
The merit list was extended until September 2020. He said a vacancy arose in December 2018 with the retirement of Supt Andy Bradshaw and since he was next on the list, he expected to be promoted.
However, according to Hazel, the merit list was suddenly revoked by the Commissioner without warning or consultation.
He says the decision by the Commissioner to revoke the list affected several officers who were awaiting promotion.
In reply to Hazel’s attorneys, on January 29, Hazel was told by attorney Christian Chandler, director of legal services for the police, that the extension of the merit list to September 3, 2020, was done an error.
Chandler said the initial extension list was only for a year and would have expired in December 2019. He explained that it was inadvertently published as a departmental order in September 2019 and after the error was identified, it was rescinded.