26 constables challenge promotion process

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

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TWENTY-six second division police constables have received the court’s permission to challenge a departmental order of the Police Commissioner as it relates to performance appraisals.

They also received the green light to challenge the failure by the promotion advisory board (PAB) to sit every three months.

Justice Eleanor Donaldson-Honeywell granted leave to the 26 officers to pursue their judicial review claim which seeks declarations that departmental order No 93, dated August 4, 2021, was unlawful and that there has been undue delay by the promotions board to consider them for interviews.

A case management hearing has been set for a virtual hearing on June 1.

In their lawsuit, the 26 officers complained of the August 2021 departmental order which relates to the performance appraisal criteria to be used in the promotion process for second division officers. They say this order changed the methodology for promotions.

They said they have passed their exams for promotion from constable to corporal and in some cases from corporal to sergeant and had a legitimate expectation they would be assessed based on the marking scheme already set out in the police service’s regulations.

Their lawsuit contends any modification of the performance appraisal criteria had the effect of diluting their chances of succeeding in the promotional process since they must now complete with a substantially larger pool of applicants accumulated over the years by the board’s delay to deal with promotions since it was not sitting as it should be.

The officers also said because of this delay, there might not be vacancies for the higher position.

The constables are represented by attorneys Jagdeo Singh, Lana Lakhan, Leon Kalicharan, Desiree Sankar, Karina Singh, Vashisht Seepersad and Terry Boyer.