Case dismissed

Lawsuit by officers against PSC thrown out

The High Court has dismissed the lawsuit filed by 14 police officers against the Police Service Commission (PSC) for excluding them from a list for promotion four years ago.

High Court Judge Margaret Reifer this morning threw out the case which started early last year.

An upset attorney Ralph Thorne, QC, who represented the disgruntled officers, strongly disagreed with the ruling, promising to file an appeal soon after Christmas, asking the Court of Appeal for an urgent hearing.

Ralph Thorne, QC

In fact, he told reporters that even before arriving at court this morning, he had already formulated the grounds of appeal, bearing in mind that lawyers should always be prepared for any outcome.

In summarizing the reasons for the judge’s decision, Thorne said Reifer contended that there was no evidence that the PSC violated the promotions rules and regulations.

However, the senior lawyer reiterated an earlier position that the Commission had no authority to reject the recommendations of then Police Commissioner Darwin Dottin and recommend other officers instead.

“We disagree entirely with the decision, with the legal findings; we disagree entirely with the findings of fact . . . here it is you have a case of promotion, contested promotions, in which the chairman of the Police Service Commission came to the court and admitted that . . . they rejected the recommendations made by the Commissioner and exercised their own initiative and substituted names of their own,” Thorne said.

“Indeed the law further says, that if the Police Service Commission has a query in relation to any names submitted that they must refer the matter back to the Commissioner of Police. It is clear on the evidence, the admitted evidence under oath by chairman of the Police Service Commission that this did not happen.”

Inspectors Elliott Bovell (left) and Barry Hunte (second from left), Assistant Superintendent Antonio Forte (right) and Superintendent Jeddar Robinson (partly hidden) as they exited the High Court this morning.

Thorne stressed that the process of appointment by promotion involves recommendations by the Commissioner of Police to the Police Service Commission which confirms the recommendations and passes them on to the Governor General for appointment.

He insisted that this process was violated by the PSC when it created its own list without going back to Dottin, and left out the 14 officers.

The senior attorney also took umbrage at the delay in bringing the case to conclusion, charging it affected the aggrieved officers’ careers.

“We did written submissions last November in anticipation of the court deliberating on our written submissions . . . .We have been called back here two days before Christmas to hear a decision in relation to written submissions that we submitted a year ago.

“This is a matter dealing with people’s careers, this is a matter involving urgency, this is a matter involving people’s right to be promoted and the subsequent violation of those rights by a Police Service Commission acting, we contend and insist, acting unlawfully.”

Thorne was also annoyed that having filed this case in July 2012, the judge who handed down today’s ruling was the fifth to handle this matter.

“There must be something very special about this case that the system has assigned this case to five judges. So we have run the course of litigation in relation to one case that was sent to five judges . . . . That to me has been a little curious,” he said.

He complained that while the officers had been waiting for their case to the heard, they had been denied eligibility for awards and had seen their subordinates promoted.

“That is the injustice they have endured,” he said.

Fifteen officers had sued the PSC over their non-promotion, however, one subsequently dropped his suit and was later promoted, while two of those involved have since retired after about 40 years of service.

Thorne said the next few days would determine if the remaining would be promoted for their years of service.

However, he would not say if he would drop the lawsuit if his clients were promoted.

9 Responses to Case dismissed

  1. Sydonette Dennie
    Sydonette Dennie December 24, 2016 at 1:18 am

    I think that if proper grounds were forwarded with facts and enough reference were placed on their deployment history the ruling might have been different. Putting forward a case of this nature requires substantive facts and the evidence must be led in keeping.

  2. Jennifer December 24, 2016 at 7:52 am

    @greengiant – I agree with you on the first paragraph.
    One of the problems i have is that many people living in Barbados believe that promotion is due to them based on long service. You will hear them bickering who came first and did not get promote and so on. While they will sit on their backsides and do little to nothing for years and then make noise for promotion. The next thing is that some people too get promoted based on illegitimate reasons e.g ass licking and cooning to name a few, which also should not happen either. It is who does drink with who after work and so on.
    There should be transparency when promoting and promotion should be based on performance and not long service. There are a mountain of public sector workers who sit in jobs not performing for years then make noise when they realize they still in the same spot.

  3. Jennifer December 24, 2016 at 7:54 am

    This is why i ask what was the promotion list criteria or criterion?????

  4. Donild Trimp December 24, 2016 at 8:35 am

    This case was all about political affiliation and infighting among the officers.

    Darwin, Bertie, Seymour. Bertie now teaching at UWI. Seymour retired.

    A group of guys are the D’s, another group the B’s. Barbados is nothing but a banana republic with a bunch of lawless people..

    It is hard for any person with common sense to believe this case warrants the attention of 5 learned Judges unless there was something nefarious about the whole thing.

    One guy drop his case and was subsequently promoted.

    Gimme a break!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Hal Austin December 24, 2016 at 11:56 am

    This is a case of spectacular arrogance. There is no right to promotion. We all hope that our senior managers will see in us a reason for recommending promotion.
    Humility makes a good officer. I spent nearly three years in the criminal justice system, was denied promotion among other things, got sponsored to go back to college and re-train as a journalist, and spent over 40 years doing a job I enjoyed.

  6. The Negrocrat December 24, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    In this CONKIE REPUBLIC anything is possible.

  7. BaJan boy December 24, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    @jennifer why don’t you at least try to make an intelligent discourse at some point in time. @zeus any good lawyer would have his grounds for appeal and just clean them up after the judgement since you always prepare for either of the two eventualities. We have an empty Attorney General who does not have a clue and knows very little law is in a big position with a small mind. Then you have a former senior officer in the dark stoking the fire from the police service commissions and nobody has paid him any attention whils he stays in the dark and destroys the morale in the police force because he has a very weak leader to deal with.

    • Sherlock Holmes. December 24, 2016 at 11:06 pm

      Bajan Girl the word intelligent is not one you should use,time and time again it has eluded you.You are always using scurrilous statements which are designed to defame the characters of others,there will come a time as one would say in typical Bajan terms that Bajan Girl might have to literally pay for her mouth for the constant canards you post here.

  8. Mack December 29, 2016 at 11:50 am

    The public don’t understand the tremendous sacrifices these dedicated officers made to the safety ans security of the people of Barbados. Policing is a calling, you are not paid enough for the work you do. An officer who spend 20 years service in the Force is like 40 years spent by the average civil servant.
    It is not fair what was done to them.


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