Police Commissioner unperturbed by court ruling that his appointment was unlawful

Commissioner of Police, Atlee Rodney
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By Shermain Bique-Charles

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Commissioner of Police Atlee Rodney says he is not at all perturbed by a recent court decision that ruled his appointment is unlawful, null and void.

“It has not affected me in any negative way or the organisation. We knew this was a legal issue…it did not jeopardise my oath of office as an officer,” Rodney told Observer yesterday.

Rodney was appointed Commissioner of Police in February 2020, three months after former commissioner Wendel Robinson was terminated, stripped of his rank, his pension, gratuity and other allowances that he accumulated during 32 years and 10 months of service in the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda.

Robinson fought the action in court against the Police Service Commission’s (PSC’s) decision and Justice Ann-Marie Smith recently ruled that his termination and Rodney’s appointment were unconstitutional.

She set April 30 as the date for damages to be awarded to the former top cop.

During an appearance on Observer AM, Rodney said the judge’s ruling “has not affected me in providing the leadership that the organisation needs at this time. We are a disciplined organisation and we respect the judicial system and we will continue to respect it”.

He added that as far as he is concerned, “the legal persons will address their issue, but I am still a police and I am still continuing to serve and provide leadership”.

In his June 2020 declaration, Robinson told the court that it was also unconstitutional for him to be deprived of having his appeal heard before the Public Service Board; and that it was unconstitutional, unlawful, ultra vires, null and void, to appoint Rodney as the new commissioner in light of how he was terminated.

After Justice Smith’s ruling, the PSC applied for a stay on the judgment pending an appeal but it was denied. However, the PSC has already filed an appeal.

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