Court: 3 Defence Force recruits free to challenge early discharge

Trinidad and Tobago Defence Forced recruits-  Photo by Angelo Marcelle
Trinidad and Tobago Defence Forced recruits- Photo by Angelo Marcelle

THREE former Defence Force trainees who had hoped to join scores of their colleagues at Saturday’s passing out parade, but were discharged early because they allegedly failed police polygraph tests, have received the court’s permission to pursue their judicial review claim.

However, the three were not successful in getting the court to grant an order of prohibition to stay the decision of the commanding officers of the Regiment and Air Guard from removing them from the batch of recruits expected to graduate on June 3.

On Tuesday, the three – Jamari Chacon, 23, of New Grant, Princes Town; Jerren Coombs, 24, of Greenvale, La Horquetta; and Kavelle Serrette, 24, of Sangre Grande – were granted leave to pursue their claim against the two commanding officers and the Chief of Defence Staff by the emergency judge, Justice Frank Seepersad.

On Wednesday, since there was no appearance by anyone from the Defence Force, the judge said he was reluctant to grant the stay in the event there were serious implications involved.

The matter has since been docketed to Justice Eleanor Donaldson-Honeywell who will set dates for the hearing of the matter once their claim has been filed.

In their application, the three are challenging their discharge from the Defence Force for allegedly failing police polygraph tests when they previously applied to join the police service.

Two of them said they assumed they failed since they never received the results of the tests but were not called back for the other round of the recruitment process by the police.

The third admitted failing in 2021, but passed the test in 2022 when he reapplied.

The three contend they were not treated fairly since alleged failures of police polygraph tests are not a relevant criteria for recruitment in the Defence Force nor was the latter in possession of the results.

They also say none of the other members of the intake of recruits were subjected to a polygraph test and Coombs and Serrette say they will turn 25, this year, so if they miss this chance, they will be barred from entering the Defence Force.

Their application also said they were one week away from graduating when they were discharged, according to them, without reason. They also maintain they have no criminal records nor do they have affiliations with gang members.

They also alleged they were made to sign adverse statements after “extremely prejudicial” interviews before their discharge “without just cause.”

The three are represented by attorneys Arden Williams, Anthony Moore and Mariah Ramrattan.


"Court: 3 Defence Force recruits free to challenge early discharge"

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