Ruling in police promotions case shifted to June 28
The ruling in the case that has challenged the 2020 promotion of police ranks by the Police Service Commission (PSC) has been further delayed to Monday, June 28, 2021.
Although the ruling was expected on Friday with Chief Justice (ag), Roxane George, SC, repeatedly noting the need for a speedy conclusion, that was not achieved.
When the matter was called Friday, the Chief Justice had to first spend time entertaining discussions on new Notices of Application filed by attorney Pratesh Satram, who is representing Senior Superintendent, Calvin Brutus, in his complaints of discrimination.
Satram explained that those applications were to introduce additional evidence which he became aware of sometime after May 31, 2021. After hearing extensively from Satram, Justice George said she did not think the information contained in the Notices of Application were necessary for the determination of the matter, and so, she set them aside.
But in seeking further clarification in order to reach her decision, Satram found himself in the hot seat and spent almost two hours responding to questions put to him by Justice George.
Among the clarifications sought from Satram is an explanation as to why Brutus had signed letters to Edmond Cooper, Philip Azore and Kurleigh Simon – Senior Superintendents of Police – informing them that they were being investigated.
The Chief Justice pointed out that although Brutus had written and signed the letter as the person in charge of the Force’s administration, it was done after he embarked on a course to challenge the promotion of the officers.
“Was it ethical?” Justice George asked.
But according to Satram, even if Brutus was being wicked, it does not mean that they aren’t, in fact, being investigated since those investigations are not conducted by Brutus himself, but rather, by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) and the Criminal Investigations Department (CID).
The Chief Justice was not satisfied that it amounted to a matter of fairness that Brutus would write letters to his “rivals” after making complaints about not being considered for promotion.
That aside, Satram, on behalf of Brutus, maintained that the Commission’s blanket policy not to promote ranks who have disciplinary matters pending was unfair and irrational.
He said this is so especially when the Commission is responsible for the delay in determining those matters.
Represented by attorney Dexter Todd, the respondents have claimed that Brutus’ complaint was premature since they were never informed of being considered for promotions, much less, being promoted.
Brutus has furnished the Court with a list but there is no determination that it was a final list. The new Notices of Application that the Chief Justice set aside had intended to prove this.
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.
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.