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Nov 8, 2018

OW Cops Challenge Transfers; Court Rules Against Them

Following the huge drug bust in the north in early September and the subsequent arrest of Superintendent David Chi and PC Norman Anthony, it was revealed that Orange Walk’s new top cop ASP Juanito Cocom decided to purge the police formation there.  We were told that at least twenty-two police officers were recommended to be transferred because it was believed that they were involved in the recent drug plane landing.  We were also told that seventeen police officers remained posted in Orange Walk Town after an area representative, a minister and ranking police officers intervened on their behalf. Five of the remaining officer, however, received their transfer letters. Three of those officers decided to challenge the transfers on several grounds and today Justice Courtenay Abel dismissed their application for an injunction to stay the transfers. The officers were represented by Attorney Anthony Sylvestre who told News Five.

 

Anthony Sylvestre

Anthony Sylvestre, Attorney

“The judge ruled that in the circumstance it would not be able to give us leave or permission for us to launch judicial review against this decision. The hearing was expedited because as you may appreciate once an order is given to a police officer by the commissioner he must comply with it so that there had to be some speed with which the court had to make a decision one way or another so that all parties will know where they stand and whether the commissioner will pulled back that order or whether the officers would have remained in their postings and have to take necessary steps to readjust themselves and their lives. Interestingly while the court did not give us permission, they granted us cost and the reason for that they felt that had the Commissioner of Police and the department had they responded to our letter we would have not needed to have gone to court. There subsequent letter was quite late in the day, after the fact, after we had sent our initial letter and we had brought this application. They ordered cost to us in the sum of two thousand dollars. Ordinarily when a litigant isn’t successful they end up paying up the cost for the other side so that should speak value of the fact that several things proceedings did. It served a useful purpose of certainly of disabusing persons mind, the applicants may have transferred for punitive reasons. That therefore we welcome that because now we have on record, and the perception that may have been in the public, that the court of law has indicated that is not so. Secondly, and importantly, the judge indicated that it cannot order the police department to do it,  it did feel as though given the circumstances that it would have been desirable, reasonable and appropriate to actually consult with these officers before the transfer orders were actually made.”

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