I write with reference to the article in your newspaper dated November 4th, 2016 with the heading. “Rolda Bridgeman – An Example of Gender Equity”.
According to the report, the Chairman of CRAC is suggesting that the Gender Equality part of “Rights and Freedom” Constitutional Bill be renamed the “Rolda Bridgeman Bill”. With this I beg to defer.
While I have no malice for the Senior Police Officer and women in general, I feel compelled to make a few statements of facts, as I like the truth. All who were involved in that promotion case, members of the RGPF and by now the reading public know well it was not a gender equity issue but one of political interference with the transparent promotion process in the RGPF at the time.
It was believed that these particular affected Officers were friends of or affiliated with persons from the other political party, and as such became victims of circumstances under the then regime. (Isn’t) the same thing happening today in the Force, no transparency for promotion. It’s the same ship and same captains as 2007).
The facts are as follows: (Some extracted from newspapers)
(1). Sometime in July 2007, three Inspectors and four Sergeants took the Commissioner Winston James and the Public Service Commission (PSC) to Court for failing to recommend them and failing to promote them to the next rank. It was citied that these seven Officers, among other things, did exceedingly well in exams for promotion to the vacancies that existed.
However, other Officers who failed the interview and/or received lower grades (not hard-backed men” as stated, but “hard core supporters”) were promoted over these seven outstanding Officers.
The seven Officers felt they were by-passed and it was unjust and unfair as they were not given the opportunity to advance themselves in their career.
(2). These seven Officers included two female Inspectors and one Sergeant, co-incidentally, they all were instructors at the PoliceTraining School and trained a number of Police Officers. They were being looked up to.
(3). Rolda Bridgeman was one of them and was represented by Dr. Francis Alexis. The other women retained other lawyers to pursue their matter.
(4). The court process began in August 2007. Judicial review, among other things, were requested and granted for all Officers. There were dialogue and representations on their behalf.
(5). No court order was given but in May, 2008 both of the female Inspectors (Rolda Bridgeman and Bernadette Edwards) were promoted to the next rank (Assistant Superintendent of Police. (These vacancies existed before 2007 and until May 2008).
(6). The matter for the male Inspector and the four Sergeants, including one female, prolonged in court until sometime in 2009. In conclusion, a court order was given that these Officers be promoted to the next rank and that it be backdated to be effective from July 2007, with retroactive pay and compensation. This was adhered to by the RGPF and PSC. (A GREATER AND SWEETER VICTORY for the innocent political victims).
(7). On this premise, I cannot agree that the Chairman of CRAC suggestion re: the renaming of the bill can stand, since it was not only Rolda Bridgeman who took action and got victory.
(8). Further, it was not a case of gender equality in the force, since in that same time period July 2007, particularly, four female Sergeants were promoted to the rank of Inspector and other different ranks.
(9). Now when different drivers came, women were given more opportunity to training and promotion, Cadet Officers and other ranks etc. Check it out.
(10). Also, if it was the case of gender equity in the force, how come earlier this year 40% of the recruited Officers were females – where is the gender inequality?
(11). If this bill is about promoting gender equity in the workplace, Rolda Bridgeman’s case is irrelevant, because if this was so, gender equity should have at least be presented as part of the case.
(12). Perhaps the part of the rights and freedom Bill which speaks to the “right to affiliate with any person or group”, could be considered to be renamed in that case.
(13). It is believed that the suggestion as stated in the article to rename the Gender Equality Bill after Rolda Bridgeman court matter is an afterthought. Let’s hope that Rolda’s matter is not used conveniently and incorrectly to play on people’s (women’s) emotion for support for the Bill.
(14). If the Bill is appropriate and necessary it will be supported by educated people on the true meaning of the bill and not try to fool them on irrelevance and untruth to get favour.
(15). For clarity on the facts, perhaps the Chairman can have a chat with his Learned Attorney General, Cajeton Hood, who represented some of the aggrieved Officers, or check out Ag. COP James or try to reach the Ex (short-lived) ACP, who flew out and left his colleagues in the wilderness because he couldn’t wait for the promise offered by his Captain, as part of his contribution to this scenario in 2007.