Police Welfare Assoc. ready to take legal action over “erroneous” promotions

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Police Welfare Assoc. ready to take legal action over “erroneous” promotions

The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service Social and Welfare Association (TTPSSWA) is ready to take legal action against the top cop following reports that close to 900 constables were “erroneously” promoted to the rank of Corporal and that she sent a memo seeking to have these promotions revised.

The TTPSWA said it wants clarification from Commissioner of Police (CoP) Erla Harewood-Christopher, regarding the leaked internal memo, which was dated November 20th, 2023, and addressed to the Deputy Commissioner of Administration, Ramnarine Samaroo, with the subject line: Revised Merit List for Promotion to the Rank of Corporal.

The memo allegedly called on the DCA to identify the officers who were erroneously promoted, to determine what challenges can arise and to ascertain the anticipated impact on Second Division officers and remedial plans being put in place to cushion the anticipated impact when the revised list is published.

The memo came only two months after 900 constables were promoted to corporal. DCP Samaroo was expected to respond to the CoP’s concerns by November 22.

However, the TTPSSWA wants the CoP to confirm the memo’s authenticity, as it believes the repercussions can affect officers’ morale, particularly if promotions are taken away on review.

In a GML interview, TTPWSA President, Gideon Dickson said: “The initial reaction of the association is one where we, at the executive level, central committee and general membership, have concerns as to the veracity of the document that has been circulating over the weekend, dated the 20th of November. Additionally, the impact it will have on the officers who operate at the level where you need the foot soldiers on the ground and morale could be impacted, which could impact the delivery of service to the membership and, by extension, the stakeholder, that is the members of the public.”

Dickson said a letter sent to the CoP underscored that the association is very disturbed by the leaked memo.

The letter from the TTPSWA states:
“The association is at this time calling on you to firstly verify the authenticity of this document and if it is authentic ,the association needs an immediate explanation and clarification of the anomaly which has occurred if one in fact did. Secondly, the association would like to know the extent of the impact caused by the anomaly, if one, in fact, occurred. Thirdly, the association would like to know what remedies are being looked at to rectify this anomaly if, in fact, there was one.”

“Therefore, in the interest of our membership, we are calling on you to have this situation rectified transparently and with a level of alacrity, as this has the propensity to interfere with the morale of the officers and their trust and confidence in the organisation’s promotion process.”

Dickson said the promotion process is very near and dear to officers.

“There are three major issues officers face. One is regarding health, two, salary negotiations and three, issues regarding promotion, because you are in a paramilitary organisation where upward mobility comes for a few. But once you are a career officer, you tend to do what is needed, so when the opportunity presents itself you give yourself the best chance,” Dickson lamented.

He explained that some officers on the list passed promotion exams back in 2009 and had been waiting a long time for this moment.

Dickson said the association was standing by its members and anticipates a backlash ahead.

“Whatever action is taken by the commissioner, it will be one that affects our officers one way or the other and against that backdrop, the association will stand in solidarity and provide whatever support we can to our members,” Dickson said.