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Enormous discord!

Former PSC chairman talks of relationship between ex police chief and his deputy

COURT TODAY BLOCKAttorney-at-law Alair Shepherd QC questioned former Chairperson of the Police Services Commission (PSC) extensively today when he took the stand in the No. 2 Supreme Court.

The witness Dr Trevor Carmichael was appearing in the civil case involving 14 Royal Barbados Police Force officers who are challenging a decision to strike their names from the Force’s promotion. The matter is being heard by Justice Margaret Reifer.

Questioned by Shepherd earlier today, the former PSC Chairman said he never sought permission from the Governor General to disclose various documents relating to the perspective promotions.

Shepherd referred to an affidavit from Carmichael in which he mentioned that the Commission was unable to recommend Sergeant Errol Ellis for promotion based on documents that came before the Commission.

Carmichael agreed that in making any recommendation, they would have looked at all documents relating to those persons recommended for promotion.

Dr Trevor Carmichael

Dr Trevor Carmichael

Shepherd also reminded the witness that the affidavit also stated that the PSC reviewed all recommendations and “fairly examined each recommendation for promotion coming to it”.

Shepherd then asked the court to exclude the oral statement and the part of the affidavit stating that the PSC reviewed all recommendations. In the lawyer’s view, making such a statement would mean that Carmichael was relying on documents which were never produced. Shepherd
argued that if the statement was allowed, then his client, Sergeant Errol Ellis, should have the right to see the documentation, which the PSC considered in denying his promotion.

The Queen’s Counsel also queried whether “the fact that he [Ellis] was refused in 2010, was it taken into account in not recommending him in 2012?”

Carmichael repeated his suggestion that the PSC took into account “all factors”.

“So it was taken into account?” Shepherd asked.

“I will leave you to draw the conclusion,” Carmichael responded.

“Did you ask the Governor General for permission to divulge the information?” Shepherd continued.

“Even if I did ask the Governor General I would not disclose that because that would be privileged,” the witness replied.

Carmichael insisted that any exchange between “the Governor General and the head of a statutory body was privileged unless the Governor General gave permission to divulge it”.

Shepherd also made reference to another affidavit by Carmichael, which mentioned a meeting between the Commission and former Deputy Commissioner Bertie Hinds. That was when he became aware of the “enormous discord” between Hinds and his superior, the affidavit read.

Asked where he got that information from, Carmichael again said it was through documents which came before the PSC. However, the witness said he was not willing to disclose what was in those documents nor if the meeting the PSC held with Hinds touched on anything concerning Ellis. It was all privileged information, Carmichael said.

“I am not able to say anything about anything,” he stressed.   

Ralph Thorne QC is representing Superintendent Jeddar Robinson, Assistant Superintendents Elphene Moore, Vernella Wiltshire, Richard Boyce, Antonio Forte and John Maxwell, along with Inspectors Elliott Bovell, Barry Hunte, Trevor Blackman and Roderick Walcott.

Thorne is also appearing on behalf of Station Sergeants Sonia Boyce and Vernon Moore and Sergeant Noel Moore.

Ellis’ attorney is Alair Shepherd QC.

Meanwhile, Tariq Khan is representing the Police Service Commission and Donna Brathwaite QC and Jared Richards are representing the Commissioner of Police and the Attorney General.

The matter continues today.

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