Cop gets leave to challenge transfer from US consulate

Justice Kevin Ramcharan. -
Justice Kevin Ramcharan. -

A senior Special Branch officer is challenging his transfer from an overseas consulate in 2022.

Insp Peter Fraser, who has been with the Special Branch for 27 years, assumed duty as Consul Security at the TT consulate in Miami in January 2021.

He was returned to Trinidad in May 2022 after he reported certain irregularities at the consulate.

Fraser has now sued the Commissioner of Police, the Prime Minister and the Attorney General.

Last Wednesday, he received the court’s permission to pursue his claim against the decision to recall him before his three-year term expired.

He was granted leave by Justice Kevin Ramcharan, who has adjourned the matter to January 24, 2024.

Fraser is seeking 11 declarations against the commissioner and the prime minister for the decision to transfer or recommend the revocation of his instrument of appointment as Security Consul in Miami.

Apart from asking the court to declare his transfer or the revocation of his appointment illegal, Fraser also wants those orders quashed and a separate declaration that the respondents “has and continues to act in bad faith.”

According to Fraser’s claim, he was targeted in early 2022. His lawsuit alleged matters relating to the general security of the consulate were being done without established security protocol being followed. This led to him generating a report to the deputy head of Special Branch.

“This pattern of behaviour continued into February 2022, with security concerns as to what was taking place at the consulate, particularly at a time when the consulate was placed on a heightened security alert arising from an incident which resulted in the death of a Venezuelan infant.”

Fraser’s lawsuit further alleged he was removed from the alarm system, and an “unfounded and totally untrue allegation” was made about him. The lawsuit said he “recognised the malicious, defamatory and grossly false allegations as an attempt calculated to smear” his image and reputation.

Still with no access to the security system, he sent e-mails to Trinidad. He also received information about possible irregularities at the consulate.

Reports were sent to Special Branch. Fraser was then transferred and ordered to return to TT on May 12, 2022. He did so two days later. This, his lawsuit said, was in breach of his mandatory statutory two-month notice. He was also accused of making “kuchoor.”

The lawsuit said Fraser asked to be heard but this never took place.

“I was never afforded a disciplinary hearing.

“The applicant contends the transfer was as a result of false allegations against him for which he was denied natural justice.”

It also contended the transfer was a form of punishment which resulted in significant loss of income and mental anguish.

The loss in emoluments was calculated at $428,820 as a result of his transfer. The lawsuit also said in his 27 years at Special Branch, only one officer was returned for retirement. Fraser also sought information from the police service’s legal department but was told he had to make a request to the Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of National Security, which, in turn, said the request must be made to the police service.

The lawsuit said the executive of the Special Branch identifies and recommends one of its officers for posting to serve as Consul Security at TT’s consulates in Miami, New York and previously in London. The recommendation is sent to the commissioner who approves or rejects it and, if selected, is it sent to the ministry and to OPM for an instrument of transfer, signed by the prime minister, to be issued.

His lawsuit also said none of the information he asked for was provided nor has there been any response to his pre-action protocol letters. Fraser enlisted in the police service in April 1990. He is represented by attorney Lyndon Leu.

The Attorney General is represented by Colin Kangaloo, SC, while the Prime Minister is represented by Kerwyn Garcia, SC.


"Cop gets leave to challenge transfer from US consulate"

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