PSC now ready to settle issue out of court – RE – Guyana Times
HomeNewsPSC now ready to settle issue out of court – RE
Challenges to Force promotions
Engagement will be facilitated between the Police Service Commission (PSC) and delinquent Police officers who have challenged the promotion of ranks in 2020, through a process independent of the judicial system. The Chairman, retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, Paul Slowe, has indicated his willingness to settle the ongoing challenge through this route and this was shared by Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall as the matter continues on Tuesday Chief Justice Roxane George in the High Court. The matter was adjourned and will arise again on February 5, 2021. On January 15, the AG is expected to meet with Slowe and the other parties as part of efforts to resolve the issue.
The matter would have started when Senior Superintendent Calvin Brutus complained to the High Court that he was being avoided for promotion to the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police, despite being recommended for promotion by the Police Commissioner. In his allegation, he noted that he is being ignored for promotion because of frivolous allegations of discipline leveled against him that he has not been called to defend himself for. Chief Justice George had given an order on December 31, blocking the promotion of several Police ranks to Assistant Commissioner by PSC until he heard discrimination complaints leveled at Brutus.
Speaking to Guyana Times following Tuesday’s case, Nandlall said more officers are likely to file applications while some join the current case. He considered their complaints to be important, as he came within the senior Force level. “The case is escalating… it started with one application filed by Mr Brutus. Now, it has expanded to about seven and lawyers tell me that another 20 applications are likely to be filed. I am also aware that a number of Police people are joining the case filed … It cannot be in the best interest of our country for those officers in those senior positions to have the kind of complaints and disputes that have come to the obvious. My hope and expectation is that our efforts bring success, ”he explained. He explained that while some Police officers complain that they are being promoted unfairly, others are frustrated that their promotions are being held back because of the case filed.
“The Chief Justice, I think, did the right thing and joined all parties. Significantly, I was able to report that I had embarked on a process of engaging with the Police Service Commission and all other parties in an effort to bring them to the table to try and settle the matter. In my view, this issue is of great importance. The issues involved are of fundamental importance and the individuals involved are even more important. We are talking about the highest echelon of our Force, ”the Attorney General argued. Nandlall argued that it was in the best interests of the matter to be settled as soon as possible, stating “I have already read that one side is saying that this matter will go all the way to the Caribbean Court of Justice. Now, that’s unfortunate because we’re talking there for several years of litigation. “ According to Brutus, he and five other officers, including Senior Superintendents Wendell Blanhum (Head of Crime); Ravindranauth Budhram; Errol Watts and Fazil KarimBaksh (Head of Special Organized Crime Unit) were recommended for promotion to Assistant Commissioner by the Top Cop. He said the PSC had avoided him and KarimBaksh when it was decided to promote Blanhum, Budhram, Watts, Edmond Cooper, Phillip Azore, and Kurleigh Simon to the rank of Assistant Police Commissioner. He said that the pending allegations of discipline were an irrelevant consideration in the circumstances of his promotion, as he was entitled to the presumption of innocence more so in light of the PSC’s failure to bring all investigations to an end quickly. In his Fixed Date Request (FDA), Brutus stated that it has been customary for the PSC not to promote Police Officers with pending disciplinary complaints regardless of the nature or seriousness of such complaints.
In October 2019, Brutus stated that the Deputy Commissioner of Administration allegedly committed a breach of discipline. The PSC appointed Assistant Commissioner Royston Andries-Junor to investigate the allegation. But according to him, he was not served a breach of discipline notice until October 2020, and the investigation has not progressed beyond this point. In a letter dated December 17, 2020, Brutus stated that he had called on the PSC to ignore the allegations of discipline against him when considering his appointment as Assistant Commissioner of Police. He complained that he further called on the PSC to be heard before any decision was made to refuse him the promotion. The PSC responded in a letter dated December 21, 2020, asserting its constitutional independence and stating its commitment to ensuring the speedy completion of investigations, Brutus noted in his application to the High Court. But he claims that no meaningful attempt has been made by the PSC to answer the allegations raised in his letter. Brutus argued that the PSC committed an error of law and violated the principle of legality when it acted in a manner incompatible with its fundamental right to equality of treatment guaranteed under Article 149D of the Guyana Constitution. He also argued that the decision not to promote him in the circumstances was an act of punishment as the PSC has no good reason or reason to refuse promotion. Brutus asks the court to override the PSC’s order not to promote officers with pending disciplinary matters. (G12)