Last day for the PSC to act or be sued by suspended top cop

Wendel Robinson

After today, the Police Service Commission (PSC) will face a lawsuit if it does not give in to Wendel Robinson’s demand for his suspension to be lifted and his reinstatement as commissioner of police.

That is, of course, if Robinson follows through on the threat to sue the Kelvin John led-Commission, which suspended him and cut his pay in half pending the outcome of a probe into his alleged inappropriate conduct towards three of his male colleagues.

A week ago, Robinson’s lawyer, Sir Richard Cheltenham, wrote to the commission’s chairman threatening legal action if he did not comply with the demands on or before April 20 – that’s today.

According to the legal advisor, the commission has no authority to suspend the top cop and it violated the law by: “acting ultra vires; not complying with the rules of fair play, natural justice and due process; acting in a manner which is inconsistent with established practices and protocols; committing errors of law; failing to give any or any adequate reasons for the punitive steps taken; failing to take relevant considerations into account; abusing its authority; acting without administrative consistency and; violating the Commissioner’s legitimate expectations.”

The commission, according to sources close to the matter, has not responded since receiving the lawyer’s letter on April 13.

Robinson was suspended on April 5, and while it was said a probe will be conducted into the allegations, to date, the public has not been told when that investigation will be done or who will conduct it.

Former Commissioner of Police Rawlston Pompey has weighed in on the matter, saying the commission should not respond to Robinson’s demand for reinstatement.

He explained that that is not the correct procedure to use to challenge the decision of the PSC.

Pompey said, “He [should] have appealed to the Public Service Board of Appeal. That is the procedure as laid down in the Constitution. The Constitution provides for appeals from two commissions: the Public Service Commission and from the Police Service Commission.”

He said Sir Richard can still take this approach.

Meanwhile, Pompey said he supports Sir Richards’ argument that the Commission was harsh when it decided to cut Robinson’s pay by half.

Pompey said, in the past, commissioners who were suspended pending the outcome of investigations, were never subjected to a pay cut.

He described the decision as “heartless” and said it should not have been done because there’s precedent for how these matters are handled and further that the economic times are “hard.”

Robinson was appointed to lead the police force in 2015, and one of the complaints is that he made unwanted sexual advances toward a junior officer in mid-2016. Two similar allegations were made last year. Subsequently, the complaints were formally made to the PSC which has disciplinary authority over the senior officers within the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda.

Robinson’s rank is one which falls under the authority of the PSC.

The suspended top cop, who is a trained lawyer and who has worked in police prosecution and the office of the Director of Public Prosecution, has been silent from the onset of the claims.

Since his suspension, Atlee Rodney has been appointed acting commissioner of police and Albert Wade has been appointed deputy commissioner of police.

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