A High Court judge has ordered compensation for a police officer who was denied promotion because of the failure of the police service to compile annual performance appraisals for him.
Justice Kevin Ramcharan on Thursday, awarded $400,000 to PC Bertrand Ramsumair. He ruled Ramsumair had a legitimate expectation there would have been performance appraisals for him and that the failure to compile the same breached his constitutional right to protection of the law.
In his lawsuit, Ramsumair said he joined the police service in 1995 and successfully wrote the promotional examination for the rank of corporal in 2002.
In September 2003, Ramsumair and a colleague were charged with assaulting and robbing a man in Princes Town.
He was suspended and his salary was reduced by a quarter. He was eventually freed of the charges in 2016, and was reinstated in the police service in March 2018.
He was then told to proceed on compulsory vacation leave until 2020.
When he was reinstated, he tried to get retroactive promotion but had been told he was not recommended for promotion in 2006 and 2009.
He thought this was because he was on suspension but said he found out that there were no scores for performance appraisals for 1995 and 2002 because they were missing.
In his decision, Ramcharan said it was probable that Ramsumair would have been selected for an interview by the Promotion Advisory Board had the appraisals been done as required.
However, he ruled that the Police Commissioner could not create a position for Ramsumair if none existed and suggested that had the appraisals been done, a position could have been held in 2009 pending the determination of the criminal charges.
“In the circumstances, the court cannot order that the claimant be retroactively promoted to corporal or sergeant but notes that the failure of the Police Commissioner in having the performance appraisals prepared has caused him loss,” Ramcharan said.
He ordered $300,000 in compensatory damages and $100,000 in vindicatory damages for Ramsumair.
He also ordered the State to pay Ramsumair’s legal costs for bringing the lawsuit.
Ramsumair was represented by Anand Ramlogan, SC, Jayanti Lutchmedial, Alvin Pariagsingh, and Alana Rambaran.