A senior fire officer has been granted permission to pursue his lawsuit over being allegedly bypassed for promotion in favour of a colleague, who was his junior.
Last month, High Court Judge Margaret Mohammed granted Acting Assistant Chief Fire Officer Siewnarine Ramsaran leave to pursue his lawsuit against the Chief Fire Officer, Public Service Commission (PSC) and Attorney General.
According to the evidence in the case, Ramsaran sought to act as Deputy Chief Fire Officer after the position became vacant in May 2019.
However, he was informed that he could not qualify for the substantive position as he had not completed a brigade command course, which was the prerequisite for the position.
Ramsaran’s colleague Mervyn Layne, also a Divisional Fire Officer who was acting as an Assistant Chief Fire Officer, was eventually granted the acting appointment over him despite him (Ramsaran) having seniority in the substantive post they held.
Ramsaran subsequently completed the course in the United Kingdom.
Ramsaran repeatedly sought information on why he was bypassed for the acting position before being eventually informed in July that it was because he did not have the full qualifications for the substantive post at the time and Layne did.
In the lawsuit, Ramsaran’s lawyers are contending that the Public Service Commission (PSC) breached its own regulations, as acting appointments are assigned based on seniority.
“The general rule is that seniority determines acting appointments in the higher ranks of the T&T Fire Service,” they said in the judicial review application.
Through the lawsuit, Ramsaran is seeking an order and declarations against the alleged policy. He is also seeking declarations and damages for alleged breaches of his constitutional rights to protection of the law and equality of treatment from a public authority.
Ramsaran is also seeking the almost $100,000 in salary and benefits he would have received if he had been granted the temporary promotion last year.
Ramsaran is being represented by Anand Ramlogan, SC, Gerald Ramdeen, and Alana Rambarran.
The case is expected to come up for case management on October 13.