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'Bypassed for promotion'

...Cops: Exam marks tampered with

By Joel Julien joel.julien@trinidadexpress.com

SEVERAL police sergeants who were recently bypassed for promotion to the rank of inspector have claimed that their marks were tampered with.

The accusations form part of a barrage of pre-action protocol letters sent to acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams over the last two weeks.

Last month 51 sergeants were promoted to the rank of inspector.

President of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service Social Welfare Association (TTPSSWA) Sgt Anand Ramesar said the promotion ceremony came like "a thief in the night" as no merit list had been provided before hand.

Several of the aggrieved sergeants have now threatened legal action against Williams over the alleged snub.

"A lot of police officers would have already served the commissioner of police pre action letters in relation to the promotion fiasco," Ramesar told the Express in a telephone interview yesterday.

"The association is on board. We have heard the complaints and in a lot of instances the association would really have to manage these actions but we hope the commissioner of police would really review the matter because the word is he may consider reviewing what he would have done with the view to addressing it," Ramesar said.

The TTPSSWA has not had communication with Williams on the issue however, Ramesar said.

The grievances are based on three areas, Ramesar said.

One of the key areas of contention is that police officers who have tertiary level education are still be graded on the results achieved at the secondary school level.

"For instance I have a two in English (at the CXC level). The rating is 35 for having a one in English, 30 for a two and you come down. He would have applied 30 for me. My contention is if I have a (law) degree and I have been exempted from all qualifying exams then you should give me the full marks and there are persons who are similar to me who have that same concern," Ramesar said.

"There is another position where persons who are claiming that at the briefing there was a confirmation from the then ACP (assistant commissioner of police) administration that English was not being used as a criteria and that everybody was going to be awarded 35 marks across the board and they felt that now that they are applying the breakdown that would have been a misrepresentation to them," he said.

"Then you have persons who are saying that they believe that there marks were tampered with. I have no information to confirm or deny that but that is just the case with some officers," Ramesar said.

Ramesar was one of the sergeants who was bypassed for promotion.

Ramesar said if Williams does not address the matter in "no more than two weeks" he too will be considering his legal options.

Fifteen of the officers who have threatened legal action against Williams are being represented by Senior Counsel Dana Seetahal.

Seetahal said pre-action protocol letters were sent to Williams last week.

He has not responded to them as yet.

Attempts to contact Williams for a comment on the issue proved futile up to press time yesterday.

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