Police on pause
by Roy R. Morris
The Supreme Court has ordered all the recent controversial promotions in the Royal Barbados Police Force placed on hold.
Barbados TODAY was this afternoon informed that Madame Justice Elneth Kentish today granted an injunction sought by 14 officers of the force against Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin, Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite and the Police Service Commission.
This means, said the source, that until a substantive case is adjudicated none of the promotions ordered by the Police Service Commission can be instituted. That case, Barbados TODAY was informed, has already been lodged and has already been set down for “case management” and it is expected that a date for hearing will be given shortly.
The matter, which was the subject of extensive discussion on the political platform last night when the Barbados Labour Party held a political mass meeting at Prior Park, St. James, arose when police officers Richard Boyce, Antonio Forte, Elphene Moore, John Maxwell, Vernella Wiltshire, Barry Hunte, Elliott Bovell Trevor Blackman, Roderuck Walcott, Winston Holder, Vernon Moore, Wayne Archer, Sonia Boyce and Andrew Moore questioned their omission from the list of promotions after they were recommended by the commissioner.
They are being represented by attorneys-at-law Ralph Thorne QC, Kerrie Symmonds and Michelle Forde.
According to former Attorney General and Member of Parliament for St. Joseph, Dale Marshall, the charges of the officers who sought court intervention were symptomatic of the level of political interference that has characterised the Royal Barbados Police Force since the Democratic Labour Party came to office.
Quoting from an affidavit signed by Dottin and filed with the court, Marshall said the state of affairs had made it very difficult for the commissioner to effectively perform his duties as required by law.
Marshall said that in that document the commissioner said he believed the actions of the Police Service Commission “were designed and calculated to cause me frustration in the execution of the duties of the office of commissioner and thereby induce me to resign the position”.
The deputy opposition leader said the commissioner charged that when he became aware that the commission was taking steps to remove him, based on allegation of his deputy, and they were doing so without giving him a hearing, he sought legal advice and filed proceedings for an injunction against the commission, and since then “the commission has steadfastly continue to refuse to meet with me”.
Marshall told a large crowd that stood unmoved during several bouts of heavy rainfall, that Dottin said in his affidavit: “While I was on leave in July 2009, without any reference to or consultation with me, the Commission invited the Deputy Commissioner Hinds (then acting commissioner) to submit recommendations for promotions. In my experience, and as a police officer of years’ standing, this is the first time that the commission has acted in such a manner.
“On my return from leave, I asked for and was provided with a copy of the recommendations submitted by Deputy Commissioner Hinds. I later, in my capacity as Commissioner, submitted recommendations to the Commission. Several persons on the list submitted by Mr Hinds and not on the official list submitted by me were promoted.
“The commission purported to act on the recommendations of Mr. Hinds rather than on the statutory short list submitted by me…” email@example.com