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Top cops get okay to stop promotion exams
A High Court judge has granted a group of senior police officers an injunction stopping the Police Commissioner from holding future promotion examinations for First Division Officers. It was granted by Justice Ricky Rahim around 7 pm on Tuesday, hours after some members of the group wrote a disputed promotion examination. As part of his order, Rahim also ruled that the written examination held earlier that day was null, void and of no effect.
The injunction forms part of a judicial review lawsuit filed with the assistance of the Police Social and Welfare Association on behalf of the 16 members of the group on Monday afternoon. Another hearing of the case is scheduled to be heard before Rahim on March 14. The officers are relying on a judgment in a case brought in 2011 by two police inspectors who also challenged the legality of their promotion procedure.
In that case, another judge, Devindra Rampersad, ruled in June 2012 that the procedure under Regulation 19 of the Police Service Regulations was void and of no effect. The regulations prescribe a two-stage procedure for promotion of first division officers, a written examination and a practical assessment on policing skills. Rampersad also ruled it was unlawful as the participants were not informed of the pass mark of the written examination or the criteria used for determining the best performing candidates to be promoted.
The two officers—Insps Collis Hazel and Shirley Stanley-Caruth—sought to enforce the judgment last week after Tuesday’s examination was set although procedure was not altered by the Police Service, pursuant to Rampersad’s judgment. During two hearings before Rampersad, attorneys representing acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams agreed to make special concessions for the two officers allowing them to bypass the written examination and move on to the second phase.
The group of officers are being represented by Fitzgerald Hinds and Ken Wright.