(CNS): A class action brought by around a dozen police and former police officers who say the Royal Cayman Islands Police Association discriminated against them due to both age and nationality opened in Grand Court Tuesday before Justice Robin McMillan. Arguing on behalf of the police officers in their human rights challenge, Attorney Jeffrey Jupp said his clients were forced to retire at age 55, and when they were recruited back into the service on contract, they were all demoted. The lawyer argued that this was a continued, deliberate act on behalf of their employer which breached their rights.
Dealing with preliminary matters and arguments, the case was adjourned after a brief review of the issues that are at odds in the trial, which the judge described as a “major constitutional” case. It is expected to reconvene Wednesday afternoon.
The case was filed in February with the support of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Association. The plaintiffs claim that they were forced to retire at the age of 55 and are only being offered their jobs back on contract at a lower rank and reduce pay. They claim that not only are they being discriminated against based on their age, they also say the discrimination extends to nationality. The enforced retirement does not apply to officers from the UK, who are remaining in post past 55 at the same rank; only Caymanian and Caribbean officers are being impacted by the enforced demotions.
The police association said the advantageous treatment of British officers directly discriminates against their non-British colleagues and the rights of non-UK officers under section 9 of the Bill of Rights have also been breached, the lawsuit stated.
Former police commissioner David Baines, who was named in the legal action, has returned to Cayman to give evidence in the case.