Former SWAT boss files legal challenge against ‘special leave’

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Less than one month after the acting Public Security Minister, former Police Commissioner Winston Felix, ordered that former Commander of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Unit, be sent on special leave, Dookie has mounted a legal challenge seeking to have the directive quashed.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Motie Dookie was, on December 30, 2017, reportedly found to be in possession of 30 cases of smuggled liquor in Berbice, and was subsequently removed as Commander of the SWAT Unit.

Former SWAT Unit Head, Motie Dookie

He was sent on administrative leave, and then reassigned to the Strategic Planning Unit of the Guyana Police Force. Then, on May 21, Felix sent Dookie on special leave “in the public interest.”

However, substantive Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan told reporters that if it were up to him, he would have had Dookie remain on the job as the probe continues. This, however, did not reverse Felix’s decision.

In court documents, Dookie, through his attorneys: Anil Nandlall, Manoj Narayan, Sasha S. Mahadeo-Narayan, Rajendra R. Jaigobin & Anuradha Deodatsingh, named David Ramnarine, Deputy Commissioner (Administration) as the first respondent, with the Attorney General being the second.

In his application, Dookie is seeking a writ of certiorari quashing the decision to send him on special leave in the public interest on the grounds that the decision is “unconstitutional, capricious, whimsical, irrational, based upon irrelevant and extraneous considerations, contrary to the rules of natural justice, unreasonable, unlawful, null, void and of no effect.”
In addition, he is also asking the court to order the Police Commissioner to pay his costs incurred during the proceedings.

“The Police Service Commission is the sole and exclusive authority vested with the power to discipline officers of the Guyana Police Force, in accordance with Article 212 (1) of the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana,” the application stated.

Dookie’s attorneys say that prior to receiving the letter, he was not afforded opportunity to provide any explanation or show cause why he should not be sent on special leave.
The matter has been fixed for July 14, 2018, before Justice Fidela Corbin-Lincoln.
Following the announcement that Dookie had been sent on leave, Nandlall said whatever wrong Dookie is accused of, at a minimum, he is entitled to due process and protection of the law. He said that it is public knowledge that it was Felix’s decision to send Dookie on special leave.

“(Neither) Minister Felix, nor Minister Ramjattan, nor even the President, has any lawful authority to give such directions to the Commissioner of Police; nor do they have any authority whatsoever over the employment, dismissal or discipline of Officer Dookie. The Constitution places that functional remit exclusively in the Police Service Commission.

Article 212 of the Constitution provides that “…the power to make appointments to any offices in the Police Force of or above the rank of inspector, the power to exercise disciplinary control on persons holding or acting in such offices, and the power to remove such persons from office shall vest in the Police Service Commission”.

Clearly, Dookie falls within the ranks provided for and contemplated by this provision. Additionally, Article 226 (1) provides that “…in the exercise of its functions under this Constitution, a Commission shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority’”, Nandlall said.

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