Ruling in police promotions case shifted to June 18
Late submissions by attorney Pratesh Satram, who is representing Senior Superintendent Calvin Brutus in his complaints of discrimination in the promotion of police ranks, has further delayed a ruling in the matter.
Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George had set May 24, 2021, for a decision in the case against the Police Service Commission that the 2020 promotion of police officers was discriminatory; however, she could not move ahead with a ruling when the matter was heard on Monday.
Instead, she upbraided Satram for not complying with the Court’s Order to file his submissions on or before April 29, 2021; this would have allowed for replies by May 7, 2021, thereby allowing her time to make a ruling.
When the matter was heard last on April 9, 2021 the Chief Justice had said that because parties were unable to reach an amicable solution outside the court, a speedy conclusion to the matter had become necessary.
She accepted Satram’s apology on Monday and has now set June 18, 2021 for a clarification/decision.
But with his 25 pages’ written submission in her hand, Justice George said she was concerned with the relief being sought at paragraph 70.
Satram has asked the Court to declare that the practice of denying police ranks promotion because of pending disciplinary matters is unlawful.
The Chief Justice said she considered that making such a declaration would be “cross-cutting”.
She said making such a wide declaration would likely have implications for the Public and Teaching Service Commissions and even the Judicial Service Commission.
In December 2020, Brutus moved to the High Court to block the promotions of senior officers, complaining that the PSC was acting unlawfully and irrationally.
On two occasions, Attorney-General Anil Nandlall, SC, had asked for an adjournment to allow him to explore the possibility of amicably resolving the matter between the PSC, the aggrieved and affected parties and the Attorney General’s Chambers.
That never materialised.
Brutus complained of being jilted and protested that the PSC is using a “trivial’ pending matter of “breach of discipline” to deny his promotion to Assistant Commissioner. The senior cop is of the view that this practice of not promoting persons who have disciplinary matters against them perpetuates a permanent injustice against him and others who are slated for promotions.
In his application to the High Court, Brutus asked for a declaration that it is unlawful for the PSC not to promote, or consider for promotion, ranks with pending disciplinary matters; a declaration that he is entitled to be promoted to the office of Assistant Commissioner of Police; and an order cancelling the decision of the PSC denying his appointment to the office of Assistant Commissioner of Police.
Additionally, Brutus asked the court to cancel the decision of the PSC to promote Edmond Cooper, Philip Azore and Kurleigh Simon – Senior Superintendents of Police – to the office of Assistant Commissioner of Police and to compel the PSC to reconsider its decision not to promote him to Assistant Commissioner of Police.
Brutus contended that some of the ranks up for promotion also have disciplinary matters dated as far back as 2016. His matter dates back to 2019, but he claims no progress has been made on conducting and concluding an investigation.