Justice Diana Insanally yesterday handed down her ruling in the case filed by former Guyana High Commissioner to Canada, Harry Narine Nawbatt, against the Attorney General.
The judge awarded judgment to Nawbatt in excess of $25 M.
As part of the judgment, the Court also awarded $500,000 for breach of contract; interest on the said sums at the rate of 6% per annum from the date of filing to the date of judgment and thereafter at the rate of 4% per annum until fully paid; costs in the sum of $50,000.
Nawbatt had brought a lawsuit against the Government for breaching the contractual agreement made on his appointment to the ambassadorial position to Canada. He was initially claiming damages in excess of $49 million for wrongful dismissal. The damages included in excess of $25M for breach of contract of employment and special damages of $24.3M.
Nawbatt sued the Attorney General in April 2016, through his Attorneys, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, Manoj Narayan and Rajendra Jaigobin, claiming that his contract of employment was not lawfully terminated and seeking his salaries, emoluments and other benefits owing under the said contract.
According to court documents, Nawbatt had entered a contract of employment February 10, 2015 with the former Government.
Among the long list of entitlements stipulated in the terms of agreement, the Plaintiff outlined a monthly salary $773,801 subject to certain terms and conditions set out in a schedule attached to the said agreement; a monthly allowance of US$4,500 and such other allowances as may be approved from time to time for the Office of High Commissioner for the territory to which he has been accredited; free furnished accommodation and also with free use of a chauffeur-driven car; an approved allowance to assist him to meet payments for wages and uniforms for one (1) domestic; business class return passages by air between Guyana (or the place of his residence) and the city of his post for himself, his spouse and their children under the age of twenty-five (25) years; hotel and travelling expenses incurred by himself, spouse and children under twenty-five (25) years of age prior to the provision of free furnished accommodation for period less than three months.
Additionally the High Commissioner was entitled to paid primary, secondary or tertiary education of the children, medical insurance or a percentage of paid medical expenses and the shipment of the personal effects and/or at least two motor vehicles within one (1) year of termination of the Contract of Employment.
According to the said contract the engaged person, “shall be entitled to a gratuity equal to twenty-two and one half percent (22½%) of the basic salary payable in six-monthly periods or on termination of his Contract of Employment and the Government may terminate this contract of employment by giving the Officer three months’ notice in writing or paying to the engaged person six months’ salary and station allowance in lieu of notice.”
However in a letter dated June 8, 2015, Nawbatt said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, wrongfully and repudiatorily breached the said agreement.
The letter essentially stated that his appointment as High Commissioner of Guyana to Canada would have ended on August 31, 2015. Nawbatt therefore claimed for losses and damages.
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