Fourteen police officers have been given the go-ahead to have their nine-year-old disputed promotions case adjudicated by the last court of appeal for Barbados.
This afternoon, the local Court of Appeal granted leave for the officers to have their matter heard by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
Through their attorney Ralph Thorne, Q.C. the lawmen are challenging an October 2020 ruling by the local appellate tribunal which had dismissed their request for an injunction to restrain any promotion and to have the then Police Service Commission’s action declared unlawful and invalid.
The officers are maintaining that the then PSC – now called the Protective Services Commission – unilaterally removed their names from a promotions list submitted by now retired Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin.
The policemen have so far lost their legal challenges to the PSC’s action before the High Court and Appeal panel.
It has not been smooth sailing for the officers in their quest to have their day before the Trinidad-headquartered CCJ.
Acting Solicitor General Donna Brathwaite, Q.C. objected to the grant of leave to appeal, arguing that the applicants ought to have given greater details as to how the amount of damages being claimed had been arrived at, instead of simply stating a “bald” figure.
Attorneys for the officers had argued that having established that the claim for damages exceeded the statutory threshold of $18,250, the law enforcers should be granted leave to appeal as of right.
Thorne stated that the rules merely sought a “succinct” statement to be reflected on the application.
Commenting on the court’s decision to grant his clients leave, the Queen’s Counsel praised the appellate tribunal for its swift dispatch of this stage of the proceedings in giving its decision on the same day that arguments were concluded.
“We commend what is clearly a fresh resolve to do justice without delay. We intend to be no less swift in filing the appeal before the CCJ,” he declared.
“Nine years ago, the 14 police officers were denied promotion by the then Police Service Commission. Upon becoming aware of that denial, we immediately filed proceedings in the High Court in mid-2012. When the High Court gave its decision four years later, we immediately filed an appeal in the Court of Appeal. When the Court of Appeal gave its decision four years later, we immediately filed an application for leave to appeal,” the senior attorney recalled.
Thorne has sought to make it clear that there would be no retreat and no surrender.
“The appellants will not be made weary in their desire to have this appeal heard in the highest court. Over the last nine years, two of the officers have retired, but they feel no less strongly that their rights were violated by the then Police Service Commission and they continue this fight, with their colleagues in active service, to defend their rights,” he contended.
“There has not been a more upstanding group of citizens seeking justice and we live with the hope and expectation that they shall be heard in the CCJ in the near future,” Thorne stated.
Appearing with Thorne was Harlow Broomes, while Brathwaite represented the Commissioner of Police, Protective Services Commission and the Attorney General’s Office. ([email protected])