Contempt of court case filed against AG’s office

A re­tired fire of­fi­cer has been giv­en the green light to bring con­tempt of court pro­ceed­ings against the Of­fice of the At­tor­ney Gen­er­al for al­leged­ly de­lay­ing the as­sess­ment of his com­pen­sa­tion for be­ing by­passed for pro­mo­tion three times be­tween 1987 and 1998.

Dur­ing a hear­ing in the San Fer­nan­do High Court, on Mon­day, Jus­tice Ron­nie Boodoos­ingh grant­ed lawyers rep­re­sent­ing Michael Din­day­al, of Bertrand Street in San Fer­nan­do leave to pur­sue the claim over the AG’s Of­fice re­peat­ed fail­ure to dis­close doc­u­ments vi­tal to the as­sess­ment ex­er­cise.

As part of the or­der, Boodoos­ingh gave the AG’s Of­fice un­til next Mon­day to com­ply. In the event that the dead­line is not met, Din­day­al would be able to serve the pro­ceed­ings on the Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary in the AG’s Of­fice.

Din­day­al first sued the State in 2003 as he claimed that his con­sti­tu­tion­al rights were in­fringed by the Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion (PSC) when it failed to prop­er­ly con­sid­er him for pro­mo­tion in 1987, 1994 and 1998.

Din­day­al claimed that al­though he had ob­tained sev­er­al qual­i­fi­ca­tions and had an un­blem­ished dis­ci­pli­nary record, he was by­passed in favour of less ex­pe­ri­enced and qual­i­fied col­leagues. While Din­day­al was pro­mot­ed af­ter fil­ing the law­suit, he still main­tained his claim for com­pen­sa­tion over the times he had been by­passed.

His claim was ini­tial­ly dis­missed by for­mer High Court judge David Alexan­der but was lat­er up­held by the Court of Ap­peal.

In a judge­ment de­liv­ered on April 13, 2017, Ap­pel­late Judges Nolan Bereaux, Ra­jen­dra Nar­ine and Prakash Moo­sai ruled that the PSC did not have an­nu­al staff re­ports de­tail­ing Din­day­al’s per­for­mance when it re­ject­ed him for pro­mo­tion.

Bereaux al­so stat­ed that the PSC breached its own reg­u­la­tions by fail­ing to keep up-to-date staff re­ports.

“The staff re­ports are an im­por­tant part of the cri­te­ria used by the com­mis­sion as a ba­sis for as­sess­ing the of­fi­cer’s per­for­mance of his du­ties and suit­abil­i­ty for pro­mo­tion,” Bereaux said.

As part of the judge­ment, the is­sue of com­pen­sa­tion was re­ferred back to Boodoos­ingh for his con­sid­er­a­tion.

Dur­ing sev­er­al hear­ings, last year, Boodoos­ingh gave the AG’s Of­fice sev­er­al dead­lines to dis­close doc­u­ments re­lat­ed to the pro­mo­tions of Din­day­al’s for­mer col­leagues.

The last dead­line was on Feb­ru­ary 28 and the con­tempt pro­ceed­ings were filed in March.

Din­day­al is be­ing rep­re­sent­ed by Anand Ram­lo­gan, SC, Chelsea Stew­art and Alvin Pariags­ingh, while Deputy So­lic­i­tor Gen­er­al Neil Byam and Ryan Grant rep­re­sent­ed the AG’s Of­fice.

Reporter: Derek Achong

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