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'Fired Because I Am Muslim'

By NICO SCAVELLA

Tribune Staff Reporter

nscavella@tribunemedia.net

A FORMER police officer has applied for leave to apply for judicial review of the commissioner of police's decision to discharge him from the Royal Bahamas Police Force allegedly because of his unwillingness to compromise a key component of his Muslim faith.

Former Constable Bertram Bain, in court documents seen by The Tribune, submitted the application on the basis that Commissioner Ellison Greenslade's decision to dismiss him from the RBPF without giving him the opportunity to respond was "unconstitutional, unreasonable, unlawful, null and of no legal effect".

Mr Bain further submits in his application that Commissioner Greenslade "irrationally exercised his powers" when he "failed to promptly allow the applicant the opportunity to appeal his decision before he was dismissed".

Mr Bain is also challenging the legality of his dismissal, alleging in his application that Commissioner Greenslade "illegally exercised his powers" when he "either by deliberate and/or by neglect failed to ensure that the applicant's benefits payment be suspended, withheld or denied before the applicant had the opportunity to exhaust the appeal process".

To that end, Mr Bain is also seeking an order of certiorari to quash the decision of the commissioner "and/or his servants" to dismiss him without giving him an opportunity to respond, as well as to quash the commissioner's decision to recommend that Mr Bain's "benefits payment be suspended, withheld or denied before the applicant had the opportunity to exhaust the appeal process".

He is also seeking an order of mandamus to direct the commissioner to "update, adjust and correct" the applicant's benefits, and to restore and pay to Mr Bain "all benefits awards due and payable to him, as at the date of his discharge until the completion of the appeal process."

In addition, Mr Bain is seeking six declarations, which include, but are not limited to, that Commissioner Greenslade's decision to terminate Mr Bain "was so manifestly unreasonable that no reasonable authority or tribunal, entrusted with its powers, could reasonably have come to that decision in all circumstances of this case", and that Commissioner Greenslade "has acted unfairly, unlawful, unreasonable, arbitrarily, capriciously and abusive towards the applicant".

As such, Mr Bain is seeking damages, interest, costs, and other compensation as the court deems just.

The Tribune also received a copy of the summons for Commissioner Greenslade to appear before Justice Indra Charles for a hearing into the matter on Tuesday. However, The Tribune understands the matter was ultimately adjourned to December.

In August, Mr Bain's attorney Maria Daxon told The Tribune of her intent to file an injunction in the Supreme Court to stay the August 2 decision to dismiss Mr Bain, which she alleged hinged on Mr Bain's unwillingness to shave his beard in accordance with the RBPF's grooming policies.

Mr Bain first joined the RBPF in 2000, and converted to Islam sometime in 2011.

A copy of Mr Bain's discharge certificate obtained by The Tribune showed that on August 2, the officer of 17 years was discharged from the RBPF "in accordance with Section 7(c) of the Police Disciplinary Regulations No 1965 and Section 21 (1)(c) of the Police Force Act 2009".

The discharge certificate noted that during his tenure with the RBPF, Mr Bain's "conduct and general character has been unsatisfactory."

However, Mr Bain, according to court documents obtained by The Tribune, claimed that his dismissal was the end result of his multiple attempts at having Commissioner Greenslade acquiesce to his pleas to adhere to the Muslim practice of not shaving one's beard while serving as a member of the RBPF.

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