POLICE Commissioner Gary Griffith could find himself in jail if he fails to comply with a judge’s order to reclassify a policeman’s leave as injury leave with pay.
Griffith has 14 days in which to reclassify the leave of Ashram Pariagsingh, a policeman for 37 years, who was assigned to the La Brea police station when on May 8, 2012, he slipped and fell on a wet floor there.
His lawsuit claimed the area became slippery because of a leaking pipe and the fall caused him serious back injuries.
In his lawsuit, Pariagsingh challenged the commissioner’s decision to reclassify his sick leave without any explanation.
According to his lawsuit, the Human Resources Department of the Police Service classified his sick leave as injury leave with pay. Three years later, acting Commissioner Stephen Williams reversed this and classified Pariagsingh’s leave as extended sick leave with no pay. He also told Pariagsingh he would have to repay all his salaries and benefits from May 2012-March 2016.
In October last year, Justice Frank Seepersad ordered the commissioner to reclassify the policeman’s leave as injury leave with pay, saying Pariagsingh was treated as if he was on injury leave, and fair play demanded that, having received a salary for such a long period of time on the premise he was on injury leave, he ought not to have had the rug of financial security pulled from under him.
The judge’s order has not been complied with, and Pariagsingh’s attorneys, Anand Ramlogan,SC, and Alvin Pariagsingh, filed an application to have the court’s order enforced within 14 days and to find the commissioner in contempt.
Seepersad, presiding over the matter at the Hall of Justice yesterday, urged attorneys for the commissioner, who included director-legal at the police service, Christian Chandler, to ensure his order is complied with.
“It will give the court no pleasure to send the commissioner to the other place…GG…that is Golden Grove,” Seepersad said.
“Please ensure this does not unfold,” he urged the commissioner’s legal team.
In granting Pariagsingh’s attorneys permission to file their applications, Seepersad said it was evidence that the office of the commissioner was “critical in curtailing the cancer of criminality which confronts all citizens.”
He added, “The hands-on approach and operational involvement of the commissioner, in furtherance of a focused and resolute mandate to curb the unacceptable escalation of crime, cannot go un applauded.
“The office, however, carries with it extensive administrative functions which must also be discharged with adeptness, adroitness alacrity and aplomb.
“While it is readily acknowledged that the demands of the office are significant, there can be no justification for the failure to comply with mandatory orders of the court.”