Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George earlier today issued a temporary order blocking the Police Service Commission (PSC) from promoting several officers to Assistant Commissioner’s rank.
The CJ made this decision after Senior Superintendent of Police Calvin Brutus moved to the High Court, blocking these officers’ promotions as he complained that the PSC is acting irrational and unlawful.
Brutus’ matter is among a number of lawsuits filed in the High Court by police officers trying to block the promotion.
When the matter came up for hearing today, Attorney General Anil Nandlall, who is representing the PSC, noted that the case is a serious development.
He said that the matter could be resolved outside the courtroom while asking for it to be withdrawn from the court.
To this end, Nandlall asked for the matter to be put off until the second week in January 2021. In granting the order, Chief Justice George said, “one doesn’t want to have discord in such an important institution as the Guyana Police Force.”
The matter comes up again before her on January 12, 2021, at 10:00 am.
In a Fixed Date Application (FDA), Brutus contends, among other things, that the practice of the Commission not to promote police officers with pending disciplinary complaints regardless of the nature or seriousness of such complaints perpetuates a permanent injustice against him and others who are scheduled for promotions.
He is seeking several declarations from the High Court, including a declaration that the PSC’s policy not to promote, or consider for promotion, ranks with pending disciplinary matters before it, is unlawful.
A declaration that he is entitled to be promoted to the office of Assistant Commissioner of Police; and an order of Certiorari quashing, nullifying, and/or cancelling the PSC’s decision denying his appointment to the office of Assistant Commissioner of Police.
Besides, Brutus wants the Court to give several orders, including an order of Certiorari quashing, nullifying, and/or cancelling the decision of the PSC to promote Edmond Cooper, Philip Azore and Kurleigh Simon, Senior Superintendents of Police, to the office of Assistant Commissioner of Police; an order of Mandamus compelling the Commission to reconsider its decision not to promote him by law and in accordance with his legitimate expectation.
A declaration that he was entitled to be heard according to the principles of natural justice before the decision taken by the Commission denies his promotion to the office of Assistant Commissioner of Police.
And a declaration that he is entitled to be heard in person on any reconsideration of the matter; a declaration that the Commission contravened his fundamental right to equality and equal protection of the law guaranteed by Article 149 D of the Constitution of Guyana.
A declaration that the Commission’s policy not to promote or consider for promotion ranks with disciplinary matters is irrational and unlawful, and consequential order according to Article 153 of the Constitution directing the Commission to appoint him in the office of Assistant Commissioner of Police.
In supporting documents for his application, Superintendent Brutus explained that recommendations for promotion made in respect of him and Fazil Karim Baksh, Senior Superintendent of Police and head of the Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU), have been ignored by the Commission in its decision to appoint officers to the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police.
He said that it had been the Commission’s practice not to promote police officers with pending disciplinary complaints regardless of the nature or seriousness of such complaints.
“Trivial and unsubstantiated complaints have been accorded the same weight as grave or serious allegations of indiscipline in denying promotion to those against whom disciplinary complaints have been lodged with the Commission,” Brutus said in the claim, noting that he was appointed to the rank of Senior Superintendent of Police in 2015.
He explained that it was in October 2019 that it was alleged by the Deputy Commissioner – Administration that he committed a breach of discipline. The Commission appointed Assistant Commissioner Andries-Junor to investigate the allegation.
A breach of discipline notice was not served upon Brutus until October 2020. However, he said that the investigation has not progressed beyond the issuance of the violation of discipline notice.