President of the Police Social and Welfare Association acting ASP Gideon Dickson has been given the green light to sue the Police Service Commission and the State over being deemed ineligible for promotion.
Dickson filed his judicial review lawsuit against the commission and the Office of the Attorney General last month, and was granted leave to pursue the case by High Court Judge Nadia Kangaloo on Tuesday.
According to his court filings, obtained by Guardian Media, in March, Dickson, who has a Master of Business Administration (MBA) qualification, responded to an advertisement for the vacant post of Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) that was published by the commission.
While the advertisement indicated that candidates should possess a master’s degree from an accredited institution in law, criminal justice, criminology, police service management or “any other relevant” area, the commission responded three months later to indicate that he did not have the required educational qualifications to be considered.
Dickson sought clarification why his MBA was not considered and requested the disclosure of the commission’s criteria and policy for determining whether a degree is “relevant” for the recruitment process.
He also made a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for the disclosure of the education qualifications of officers, who were previously appointed to the rank of DCP by the commission.
In its response, the commission referred to two legal notices published in 2015 and 2019, which dealt with determining the relevance of education qualifications.
It stated that the policy was considered and Dickson’s MBA was found to cover less than 80 per cent of what was required. It also pointed out that other officers, who had similar qualifications and applied alongside Dickson, were excluded.
In his court filings, his lawyer Jared Jagroo, of Freedom Law Chambers, pointed out that between 2015 and 2022, the commission made appointments to officers with diverse post-graduate qualifications including in culinary management.
Jagroo claimed that in 2021, the association made representations to the commission on behalf of DCP Joanne Archie, who had qualifications in the field of communications.
He claimed that in January 2022, the commission agreed that MBAs would be considered and promised to publish a comprehensive list of the degrees that would be recognised.
The list, published three months later, included MBAs and specifically referenced the institution Dickson attended.
Jagroo claimed that Dickson relied on the list when he was making his decision to further his education.
“The principle of fairness and natural justice would have required that the claimant be notified that it intended to resile from this policy and give him an opportunity to be heard in light of the detrimental consequences and impact it would have on his career advancement,” Jagroo said.
He suggested that the action taken by the commission was unfair and arbitrary and breached Dickson’s legitimate expectation.
Through the lawsuit, Dickson is seeking a series of declarations against the commission and an order compelling it to consider him next time it is recruiting an officer for the post.
Dickson is also represented by Anand Ramlogan, SC, Jayanti Lutchmedial, Robert Abdool-Mitchell and Natasha Bisram.