A three-justice panel gave leave Tuesday morning for the Royal Cayman Islands Police Association to appeal its case against the islands’ police service to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom in London.
The case was filed in 2016 by the police association, along with Dane Pinnock, Claire Pinnock Jackson and eight unnamed plaintiffs, who argue that the police service’s retirement law, before 2010, has been applied in a way that is discriminatory to Caymanian officers.
The law, which was changed in November 2010, but which still applies to those hired before that date, requires mandatory retirement at age 55. The new retirement age is 60.
The plaintiffs have said that Caymanian officers were forced to retire at 55. If they were at the rank of chief inspector or below, they could be rehired, but only as lower-level officers.
That same rule, the lawsuit says, did not apply to British police officers.
Those officers, the suit says, “are not required to retire at age 55. Alternatively, if they are required to retire at age 55, they have, in practice, been re-engaged without loss of rank.
“The effect of this discriminatory treatment is that non-British officers have been discriminated against in respect of their rights under section 9 of the Bill of Rights and this discrimination, which is on the grounds of their nationality, is also an unjustifiable breach of section 16 of the Bill of Rights.”
In a 15 March ruling last year, Acting Grand Court Judge Nova Hall found that then Police Commissioner David Baines had acted appropriately in deciding which officers to retire and those who were still needed on the force despite reaching retirement age.
She said at the time, “He had an absolute discretion to determine the contractual terms of each officer engaged on a special contract; and he could not be fettered in the terms that he used to attracted and retain necessary officers.”
Hall found the officers given contract extensions beyond age 55 at the same rank were not all British nationals. She noted the case of Sergeant Davis Scott, a Caymanian, who was retained due to his special relationship and knowledge of the East End community.
The five UK-based officers referenced by the police association in the lawsuit were all specialists in certain areas where Caymanian officers lacked expertise, such as police training, anti-corruption investigations and firearms protocols, she found.
The appellants now have to pay £500 within 30 days in order to have the appeal proceed to the Privy Council.
Attorney Guy Dilliway-Parry, who is representing the plaintiffs, said he was grateful for the decision. He said he did not know when to anticipate the appeal would be heard in the London council.