Willan Thompson is still the legal holder of the post of Commissioner of Police in Grenada.
This is the effect of Monday’s ruling by female high court judge, Justice Wynante Adrien-Roberts in a case brought by Thompson who challenged his removal from the post by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell when he returned to power following the 2013 general election.
Former Attorney-General, Rohan Phillip who argued the case for Thompson told THE NEW TODAY newspaper that he is aware of the judgment but prefers to hold back on making any comment until he has a copy of the judgment itself.
Phillip said that the ruling gave support to his argument before the court that Thompson was improperly removed from the post of Commissioner of Police.
According to a legal source familiar with the case, Justice Roberts based her decision on the judgment reached in an earlier court matter involving former Cabinet Secretary, Gemma Bain-Thomas who was unconstitutionally removed from her post by PM Mitchell when he returned to power in 2013.
Thompson had earlier failed in a court action brought by Phillip that challenged the decision to transfer him from the post of Commission of Police to Clerk of Parliament by Prime Minister Mitchell after the election.
Both the High Court and the Court of Appeal ruled that the island’s chief cop was subject to transfer at any time in keeping with the regulations of the Public Service Commission (PSC), the sole body responsible for hiring and firing public officers on the island.
However, Justice Roberts ruled Monday that the transfer was not done in keeping with the requirements of the Grenada Constitution as it was purportedly done solely by PSC and not in league with the Governor-General in keeping with the law.
Under Section 89 (1) of the Constitution, it states: “Subject to the provisions of section 91 of this Constitution, the power to appoint a person to hold or act in the office of Chief of Police and the power to remove the Chief of Police from office shall vest in the Governor General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Public Service Commission”.
The source said that the Mitchell-led government is now required to perfect the transfer of Thompson as Commissioner of Police by going through “the proper channel” involving both the PSC and the Governor-General.
However, he was quick to add that one option open to Thompson and his legal team is to seek damages from the State for the manner in which he was unconstitutionally removed from the post of Commissioner of Police.
The source said that he did not anticipate Thompson being rewarded damages of over EC$700, 000.00 as given to Bain-Thomas as the action taken against her by PM Mitchell amounted to getting rid of her as a public officer as ruled by the Court.
He said the major difference in the Thompson case is that he was only transferred from one position to another in the public service but was not removed totally from the service.
When contacted Thompson declined to comment on the case and referred this newspaper to his attorney for remarks on the judgment.
Thompson is currently serving as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport.