Acting Senior Supt Collis Hazel

A senior police officer from Tobago, who was retroactively promoted by Commissioner Gary Griffith after filing a lawsuit against his (Griffith) handling of promotions, has emerged victorious in his litigation.

Although acting Senior Supt Collis Hazel, of Roxborough, Tobago, received the promotion along with 48 senior officers in February, he still opted to pursue his lawsuit in which he was seeking declarations that he was a victim of unfair treatment and that his legitimate expectation to be promoted had been violated.

During a hearing on March 16, in which Hazel’s lawyer Anand Ramlogan informed the court that he had received the promotion, High Court Judge Eleanor Donaldson-Honeywell eventually granted the declarations.

In the lawsuit, Hazel, who joined the T&T Police Service (TTPS) in 1991, claimed that after passing the promotion examination and interview with the Promotion Advisory Board, he was placed at number 46 on a merit list.

On September 4, 2018, the first 45 officers were promoted.

Hazel claimed that although the TTPS agreed to extend the life of the merit list to September 3, 2020, the decision was subsequently revoked.

In the lawsuit, Hazel, who has been given a series of acting appointments including heading the Guard and Emergency Branch (GEB), claimed that Griffith’s decision was unreasonable as it was done without any warning or consultation.

In a letter sent to Hazel’s lawyers after the case was filed, TTPS Director of Legal Services Christian Chandler claimed that the extension of the merit list by the TTPS Human Resource Branch was an administrative error.

While the TTPS initially stood by the decision to correct the error, Hazel and some of his colleagues, who were waiting on the decision in his case to challenge their promotions, were promoted in mid-February.

Hazel is being represented by Anand Ramlogan, SC, Alvin Pariagsingh, and Alana Rambaran, while Lester Chariah represented the TTPS.