Among the things which Assistant Superintendent Richard Boyce believes he suffered as a result of not being promoted, are embarrassment, anxiety, loss of income and injury to his career prospects.
Boyce was cross-examined in the No. 2 Supreme Court today, during continuation of the civil case in which he and 13 other Royal Barbados Police Force officers are challenging a decision to remove their names from a promotions list after they were recommended to move up the ranks.
Boyce was speaking on behalf of the claimants in the matter, which is being heard by Justice Margaret Reifer.
Questioning the witness about the affidavit which he had filed as part of the proceedings, Queen’s Counsel Ralph Thorne pointed out that Boyce had said in it, that he had a legitimate expectation that he would have been promoted to the rank of Superintendent. Boyce agreed with the suggestion.
“Are you saying to this court that you were recommended for promotion?”
“Yes, Ma’am,” Boyce replied. When he was asked who had communicated this to him, Boyce said it was the Human Resource Officer at the time, Jeddar Robinson, and that he (Boyce) relied on that information.
Thorne read another part of the affidavit where Boyce had said that he knew of no circumstances which would disqualify him after the Police Service Commission (PSC) had been informed of the recommendation.
The lawman of 35 years’ experience said he had seen other colleagues “placed on acting promotions” within the past three years, but neither he nor the other claimants benefitted from such.
The lawyer then questioned Boyce about how his non-promotion had affected him financially. The witness estimated that he had suffered a loss of income of up to about $700 monthly.
Thorne said he felt it was critical to include loss of income since the court at some stage should consider the distress which the claimants had undergone and awarding “punitive damages”.
He argued that the litigants were “first victimized by their non-promotion” and then “in the aftermath of that mischief, they are further victimized by not getting the acting posts”.
Boyce also testified that the PSC never met with him after its decision to deny his promotion.
Asked if he still felt that his career prospects were in jeopardy, Boyce replied “yes”.
“For having brought this case?” Thorne asked.
“Yes,” Boyce replied.
When the witness was cross-examined by Donna Brathwaite QC, who is representing the Attorney General, she said she wanted to know who had recommended Boyce for promotion and whether it had been in accordance with established practices.
Boyce said he had been recommended by Commissioner Darwin Dottin and it was done in accordance with the rules.
Brathwaite then referred to a Nation newspaper article which Boyce had cited in his affidavit. She said the article purported to attribute certain things to the Attorney General. The attorney asked Boyce whether he felt that the Attorney General had any role to play in relation to his non-promotion.
“I am not saying that he played a role,” Boyce responded, but given “what was happening in the Force at the time” along with the “context and the content” of the article, “then you can draw a conclusion.”
Boyce added that he was not “the only one” concerned about the article, but several other officers had expressed concern as well.
Brathwaite also asked Boyce if he had heard other witnesses testify that the Attorney General had no role to play in police promotions. Boyce agreed that he heard them do so.
When Tariq Khan, the attorney for the PSC, questioned Boyce, it was to determine whether he had seen several persons promoted and denied promotion during his tenure as a cop. Boyce said he had seen this.
Khan also questioned him about his view that there had been interference in the promotions process.
“I was recommended for promotion by the Commissioner of Police,” Boyce stressed, but since he was subsequently not promoted, “something untoward would have had to occur”, he submitted.