Defence Force Reserves officer calls on CDS to promote her

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Justice Margaret Mohammed –

ATTORNEYS for a warrant officer with the Defence Force Reserves have given the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) until Friday to comply with a court’s order that their client be retroactively promoted to a higher rank.

On October 31, Justice Margaret Mohammed ordered the CDS to promote Ann Marie Mercury to the rank of warrant class officer 1 as she ruled that the CDS erred in law and procedure by deciding not the promote the Defence Force Reserves officer.

The judge also declared the promotion of another officer ahead of Mercury was also wrong in law. She has quashed that promotion and directed the CDS to promote Mercury with effect from May 4, 2021.

In her lawsuit, Mercury said she was not promoted allegedly because she did not complete a course.

However, she contended the course did not apply to her, as there is none for advancement from WO II to WO 1.

On January 31, Mercury’s attorneys Arden Williams and Mariah Ramrattan wrote to the CDS asking for his position on the court’s order.

They also asked that the CDS comply with the order “forthwith” and provide confirmation of the compliance by February 2.

Failing which, the attorneys said they would approach the court with a possible contempt application to enforce compliance.

“This we deem a particularly unfortunate mechanism to invoke. However, it is indeed the last resort available.”

In their letter, the attorneys also referred to recent statements by the Prime Minister of the plan to release $100 million to supplement the TTDF annual budgeted allocation to assist in crime-fighting initiatives.

“We ask that good sense prevail and that you act accordingly,” the letter said, adding, “We are more than concerned that our client has not received the fruit of her judgment.”

“…We cannot identify a single reason for non-compliance…,” the letter also said.

At the time of filing her lawsuit, Mercury was the most senior warrant class officer II in the Defence Force Reserves.

In her ruling, Mohammed said the CDS was a public body that had a duty to act legally and comply with the regiment’s standing orders for promotions.

Last year, President Christine Kangaloo called out over 100 Defence Force Reserves to support the police for the pre-Christmas season to Carnival 2024.