Appeal Court to hear cop’s case claiming unfair treatment by former CoP

Acting Senior Superintendent Seukeran Singh is arguing that Philbert moved to block him from sitting the promotions exam on the basis that Singh had fallen short of the required probationary period by six days.

In contrast, another officer, Peter Reyes, was allegedly allowed to sit the exam even though he did not serve a full probationary period.

Singh, of Indian Walk, Princes Town, is appealing a decision of the High Court to throw out a lawsuit he once brought against Philbert in which Singh claimed that Philbert blocked him from sitting a promotions exam and admitted that persons who did not deserve to be promoted in the Police Service had been promoted.

In the case, Philbert had denied Singh’s claims and had said Singh was stopped from sitting the exam after being invited to because Singh did not serve out a full probationary period for the post of superintendent. Philbert had also claimed that this incident happened to several other (unnamed) officers and denied admitting that undeserving police officers were being promoted.

Under police rules, Singh was supposed to serve 12 months acting in the post before being allowed to follow through and to sit the promotions examination. However he was six days short of the 12-month period.

Now, however, with the emergence of fresh evidence, lawyers are taking the case to the Court of Appeal.

The evidence relates to information which has come to light over another police officer, Peter Reyes, who allegedly had “only ten months and seven days” service in the rank of assistant superintendent but was allowed to sit the same exam which Philbert blocked Singh from sitting.

“The failure by (Philbert) to permit (Singh) to sit and write the Assessment Examination for promotion to the rank of senior superintendent of police on November 13, 2008, on the purported basis of him not having completed a probationary period of 12 months in the rank of superintendent of police,” was a violation of the Constitution, Singh’s attorney Kelvin Ramkissoon argues in a notice filed on Monday.

“To permit another officer, namely Peter Reyes, to write the said examination notwithstanding that the said officer had only completed ten months and seven days of his probationary period in the rank of assistant superintendent of police constitutes a violation of (Singh’s) constitutional right to equality before the law and the protection of the law as guaranteed under Section 4(b) of the Constitution,” Ramkissoon argues. This, the lawyer says, also violates Singh’s “right to equality of treatment from any public authority as guaranteed under Section 4(d) of the Constitution,”.

In a supplemental affidavit filed this week in the Court of Appeal, Singh argues that recent reports about the number of superintendents in the Police Service reveal that there are 20 such officers, representing a shortfall of the required complement of 27.

He argues that this means he stood a good chance of promotion, had he been allowed to sit the exam in 2008 without court intervention. He notes his high standing on the merit list. (Singh did sit the exam in November 2008 but after much drama which saw a court temporarily injunct Philbert’s move to block him).

In proceedings before Justice Joan Charles — who threw out Singh’s case in the High Court before evidence relating to Reyes came to light — Singh said that at 2.30pm on November 6, 2008, he was summoned to a meeting at the Human Resources Branch at Police Administration Building, Edward Street, Port-of-Spain. There, he was invited to sit a written promotions exam.

However, an hour later Philbert summoned Singh to a meeting and told Singh that he could not sit the exam because he did not complete his 12-month probationary period.

“The claimant (Singh) also indicated to (Philbert) that he had been unfairly bypassed for the acting appointment in favour of his juniors which was contrary to the clear and established practice, policy and procedure in the Police Service whereby acting appointments were based on and in accordance with an officer’s position on the merit list” Charles said in her judgement in the lower court.

“(Singh) claimed that (Philbert) acknowledged that other superintendents who were ranked lower than him on the merit list were in fact unfairly appointed to act ahead of him but indicated that nothing could be done about it.”

Philbert denied these claims.


"Appeal Court to hear cop’s case claiming unfair treatment by former CoP"

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