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