Efforts to resolve Police promotions’ controversy outside court futile

…case now back with Chief Justice

A case filed back in December 2020 challenging the promotion of several officers by the Police Service Commission (PSC) will now have to be resolved by Chief Justice Roxane George, SC, as stre

Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George

nuous efforts to have it resolved outside of the courts have proven futile.
At a hearing in early January, Attorney General Anil Nandlall, SC, who is a named respondent in the matter, had indicated that he was engaging Chairman of the PSC, Assistant Commissioner of Police (retired) Paul Slowe and several aggrieved senior Police officer on the possibility of arriving at an amicable resolution.
But when the matter came up again on Friday, Deputy Solicitor General Deborah Kumar told Justice George, “Despite strenuous efforts and the parties meeting, regrettably I am to inform this honourable court that we have not made progress in the matter.”

PSC Chairman Paul Slowe

In the circumstances, Kumar requested leave to file an Affidavit in Defence. Before adjourning the matter until April 9, 2020, at 10:00h for clarification/directions, the Chief Justice gave timelines by which parties must file, serve and reply to affidavits in the matters.
The matter would have started when Senior Superintendent Calvin Brutus complained to the High Court that he is being bypassed for promotion to the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police, even though he was recommended for promotion by the Commissioner of Police.

Senior Superintendent of Police Calvin Brutus

Following the initial challenge, several other senior officers were added as interested parties. Brutus has moved to the High Court seeking among other things, an order of certiorari quashing, nullifying, and/or cancelling the decision of the PSC to promote three Senior Superintendents of Police to the rank of Assistant Commissioner.
In court documents seen by this publication, Brutus claimed that he is being overlooked for promotion owing to frivolous allegations of indiscipline levelled against him for which he has not been called to defend himself. According to him, the three ranks who were promoted in front of him are facing more serious allegations.
In an affidavit, he 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.
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.
Further, Brutus stated that he is suitably qualified for and entitled to the promotion, and he is better academically qualified than the ranks promoted in front of him. Moreover, he is asking the court to grant an order overruling the PSC’s practice of not promoting officers with pending disciplinary matters.
Also, he is asking the court to award him damages, interests pursuant to the Law Reform Miscellaneous Provisions Act on all sums awarded; costs; and such further and other orders it deems just in the circumstances.
In the meantime, a conservatory order granted by the Chief Justice last December blocking the promotions by the PSC remains in effect until the hearing and determination of the matter. (G1)