CJ dismisses police promotion case

Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George today dismissed the case brought by Senior Superintendent of Police Calvin Brutus, who sought to challenge the promotion of police officers who he had said had disciplinary matters pending against them.

In her ruling, the Chief Justice noted that there is nothing unlawful in the Police Service Commission considering pending disciplinary matters as a bar to police promotions.

In December 2020, Brutus through his lawyer, C.V. Satram moved to the High Court to challenge the Police 2020 promotions by the PSC.

Among other things, Brutus contended that he being bypassed for promotion to the rank of Assistant Commissioner even though he was recommended for promotion by the Top Cop and due to frivolous allegations of indiscipline against him for which he has not been called upon to defend.

In an affidavit, Brutus outlined that his colleagues are facing disciplinary and/or criminal investigations for dereliction of duty, facilitation of unlawful activities, perverting the course of justice, corruption by a public officer, among other offences.

“The difference in treatment of ranks who found themselves in the same grouping was substantially and fundamentally unfair, unreasonable, unequal, and discriminatory,” he argued.

According to Brutus, the pending allegations of indiscipline were an irrelevant consideration in the circumstances of his promotion, since he is entitled to the presumption of innocence more so in light of the failure of the PSC to conclude all investigations expeditiously.

Against this backdrop, he argued, too, that the PSC committed an error of law and violated the principle of legality when it acted in a manner that was incompatible with his fundamental right to equality of treatment guaranteed under Article 149 (D) of the Constitution of Guyana.

“The decision of the PSC was an abuse of power. It was an abuse of power and/or an improper exercise of the powers for the PSC to ignore the recommendations of the Commissioner of Police and its own established practice,” said Brutus who joined the Police Force in March 1994.

Brutus noted that he is suitably qualified for and entitled to the promotion as he is better academically qualified than the ranks promoted in front of him. Brutus deposes that he is the holder of a Bachelor of Laws and a degree in Public Management from the University of Guyana.

Apart from these, he added that is also has a Master of Business Administration, a Doctorate in Organisational Development, and is currently pursuing his Legal Education Certificate at the High Wooding Law School in Trinidad.

Besides asking the Court to grant an order overruling the PSC’s practice of not promoting officers with pending disciplinary matters, Brutus wanted the Court to award him damages, costs, and such further and other orders the court deems just in the circumstances.

However, in her ruling, the Chief Justice noted that “none of the reliefs sought can be granted”.