Police Constables threaten to sue State over “unreasonable delay” for promotions

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Police Constables threaten to sue State over “unreasonable delay” for promotions

A pre-action protocol letter has been sent to the Attorney General’s Office, Police Commissioner (COP) Erla Harewood-Christopher, and the Promotions Advisory Board (PAB) after hundreds of police constables complained of the unreasonable delay by the board to conduct interviews for promotions.

The constables, all second-division officers, are being represented by a team of attorneys comprising of Jagdeo Singh, Leon Kalicharan, Karina Singh, Vashisht Seepersad, Keston Lewis and Savitri Samaroo.

All the second division constables -who joined the police service between 1995 to 2012 – have all passed their qualifying examination for the rank of corporal while several of them have passed the exam for the rank of sergeant.

Attorney Savitri Samaroo contends the PAB failed to sit every three months to consider promotions as mandated by the Police Service Act, so their clients’ have not be assessed

“It has failed to rate the officers and to determine whether they are to be placed on an order of merit list,” the letter said.

In their letter, the attorneys asked for an undertaking that the PAB, which was allegedly supposed to sit on Monday, consider their clients in the order they would have been entitled to be assessed, three months after they passed their examinations.

“The exercise of interviewing for promotion of almost 3,000 eligible constables together will have the significant effect of depriving the intended claimants of the protection of section 19(1) of the Police Service Act,” the letter said.

The attorneys also asked that after assessing their clients, a merit list be prepared for submission to the commissioner and for the consequential number of vacancies to be reserved once they are successfully assessed.

The pre action letter named each of the constables who are seeking promotion.

The letter said the act and the regulations, together with departmental orders issued by the commissioner, provided the statutory framework by which the police service is staffed with

“ with a continuous trained complement of competent officers. It therefore serves an integral role in the maintenance of law and order in the country.”

“It is common knowledge that crime continues to be a significant challenge for the people of the country (which experienced the highest murder rate of 605 persons in 2022).

“It stands to reason that the proper administration of the force, charged with keeping law and order, is of the utmost public interest and concern,” Samaroo wrote.

Samaroo said the unreasonable delay of the PAB has denied their clients of their promotional prospects.

The PAB is comprised of a deputy commissioner, an assistant commission, the director of human resources; a senior officer who is not a police officer from the Ministry of National Security and an independent management consultant appointed by the commissioner

“Many of the intended claimants have spent significant time at the rank of constable and, therefore, will likely retire before they are given the opportunity to act as sergeants, denying them financial benefits in the form of higher salaries.”

Samaroo said their pension entitlements have also been negatively affected and they have said “they experience feelings of job dissatisfaction and demotivation.”

She said the failure by the PAB and the commissioner to act will have a “significant knock-on effect,” in the service if not addressed.