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Fire Chief released on $10,000 bail on private criminal charge over removal of rank from promotion list

Fire Chief Kalamadeen  Edoo was on Monday morning released on $10,000 bail on a complaint filed against him by firefighter Neville Cumberbatch who is challenging the removal of his name from the Guyana Fire Service (GFS) promotion list.

 

Edoo was not required to plead to the indictable charge when he appeared before Principal Magistrate Sherdel Isaacs-Marcus at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts. His next court date is October 11. The Fire Chief’s lawyer is Sase Gunraj, while Attorney-at-law Eusi Anderson is appearing for Cumberbatch.

 

Cumberbatch has alleged that he is being discriminated against following the removal of his name from the GFS promotion list. As a result, the aggrieved rank, through his lawyer Eusi Anderson, has filed a private criminal charge against Fire Chief Edoo.

 

Cumberbatch alleges that Edoo, having statutory and general superintendence of the GFS, unlawfully discriminated against him on or around June to August 2021, by removing his name from a list of persons deemed eligible for consideration for promotion. That very list, he said, was approved on January 29, 2021, by former Fire Chief Marlon Gentle.

 

In court documents seen by this publication, Cumberbatch said that he was informed that his name was removed from the promotion list due to disciplinary infractions levelled against him.

 

The rank, however, pointed out that the names of other GFS ranks who are facing equal or more egregious disciplinary infractions are still on the list. According to the fireman, the removal of his name from the promotion list is contrary to Section 5 (2) (d) of the Prevention of Discrimination Act.

 

Last  year December, Senior Superintendent of Police Calvin Brutus filed a legal challenge against the Police Service Commission (PSC) over its failure to promote him to the rank of

Assistant Commissioner, even though he was recommended by the Commissioner of Police for promotion, and because of frivolous disciplinary allegations against him.

 

With Brutus having filed the initial challenge to the 2020 promotions by the PSC, several other senior officers were added to the case as interested parties in the case.  However, in June 2020, Chief Justice Roxane George dismissed the case having found that no unlawful acts were committed by the PSC.

 

Justice George, among other things, held that the case highlights the need for comprehensive regulation governing the disciplinary procedure and promotions respectively including clarity on what infractions could affect such promotion.