AN acting Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) has received the permission of the High Court to challenge the police’s promotion process.
Justice Margaret Mohammed gave the green light to acting ASP Lynford Coggins, who has complained that the 2018 merit list for assessment to the rank of ASP was outdated and illegal.
Coggins, a police officer for 30 years, currently holds the substantive rank of inspector and is assigned to the Northern Division.
In his lawsuit, Coggins said his name continued to be put on various merit lists for promotion, but he was not promoted.
Eventually, in December 2018, he was promoted to inspector, but said since then there have been two promotions to the rank of ASP, the most recent being last December, and while other officers were promoted, he was not.
Since he was acting as an inspector at the time, his name was not on the 2018 merit list for promotion to the rank of ASP. Coggins said the recent promotions emanated from the 2018 merit list, and he lost the opportunity to be promoted to the higher rank.
In his lawsuit, Coggins said there are ongoing assessments for promotion of ASP to superintendent and higher, but while the 2018 merit list will be used to assess ASPs, no decision has been taken on using the same list to promote inspectors.
He is now 53, and the mandatory age for retirement for inspectors is 55. Coggins says if he is not assessed he will have to leave the police service.
He contends that to continue to use the 2018 merit list was highly oppressive, unreasonable, unfair and irrational.
The State, in defence, argued that Coggins was not yet entitled to be promoted by virtue of his ranking on the previous merit list, and, even so, the 2018 merit list expired in December, and new assessments to the rank of ASP will be done in the near future.
It was also argued that he has not yet completed the qualifying examination and could not be assessed for promotion.
In her ruling, Mohammed held that Coggins had provided an arguable basis for his contention that the 2018 merit list should not have been extended.
She added it was in the interest of good administration that there is clarity on when the assessment for a particular rank is to be made and what matters the Commissioner of Police considered when he exercised his discretion to extend the validity of the 2018 merit list.
Coggins also wants the court to revoke the 2018 merit list and cease promotions to the rank of ASP with immediate effect while he is being assessed, as well as an order compelling the commissioner to reserve a spot for him if he was successful in his assessment.
He also wants an order restraining the commissioner from promoting anyone on the basis of the 2018 merit list, or any list, until he is assessed.
Coggins, who has 14 days to file his judicial review claim, is represented by attorney Lyndon Leu. The commissioner was represented by attorneys Allanna Rivas and Adita Ramdular.