The newly constituted Public Service Commission (PSC) has handed down a landmark decision in favour of Assistant Commissioners of Police (ACP) Smith Roberts and Dowlin Bartholomew.
Both Roberts and Bartholomew were sent on forced leave earlier this year by Acting Commissioner of Police, Winston James in an effort to retire them from the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF).
A high-level source told THE NEW TODAY newspaper that Public Servants can have early retirement pursuant to the Statutory Rules and Orders (SRO) of the commission.
The two officers retained the services of eminent local constitutional lawyer, Dr. Francis Alexis to challenge the decision of Acting Commissioner James who had the backing of Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. Keith Mitchell on the issue.
According to an authoritative source the attempt to remove Roberts/Bartholomew from the police force also resulted in differing legal opinions coming from the Offices of the Attorney General and the Solicitor-General.
He said the PSC which is now headed by barrister-at-law, Derick Sylvester conducted a thorough examination of the issue before making the decision to rule against the men being retired from the force by James.
The source who does not wish to be identified said the law was examined, and the PSC members also spoke to the Acting Commissioner of Police on the matter.
He stated that the commission members concluded that James had erred and that both ACP’s Roberts and Bartholomew could not be retired based on some procedures that had to be followed.
This newspaper understands that before a Public Servant is given early retirement, there must first be a written report from the Head of the Department for the last ten years.
After that report is received and it is felt that it is in the “public interest” to have the person retired, the officer has to be given an opportunity to be heard and to be legally represented before the PSC.
“It is only after those two things are done, then you could make a determination as to whether or not you could retire them in the public interest,” he said.
According to the source, none of the procedure was followed by the Acting Commissioner of Police who had only given Smith and Bartholomew verbal notices to proceed on leave.
The request to have the senior Police Officers dismissed was turned down by the commission and they are to be reinstated in the public service by January 1, 2014.
However, the two will not be returning directly to RGPF but are being assigned to Government Ministries to deal with juvenile justice.
ACP Roberts still has two more years in the Service, while Bartholomew has a further four before he can opt for mandatory retirement.
THE NEW TODAY has not been able to reach Dr. Alexis on what legal steps he might be taking to seek compensation for the two senior police officers in light of the embarrassing ordeal.
Speculation is rife that the move against the two senior police officers was made in order to pave the way for two other officers considered to be allies of the ruling New National Party (NNP) government to be promoted into the vacant positions.
One of the named officer was mentioned in a letter sent to James by a retired Woman Police Constable in May who accused him along with two other senior police officers of sexual abuse including one alleged rape at a private home rented for use by the police in St. John’s.