Attorney-at-law, Darren Wade, has filed court action on behalf of six former Regional Executive Officers (REOs) in the High Court, claiming that they were unfairly dismissed.
The six REOs include the ones from Region Two- Denis Jaikaran; Jennifer Ferreira-Dougal, from Region Three; Ovid Morrison from Region Five; Kim Stephen-Williams from Region Six; Carl Parker from Region Nine and Orrin Gordon from Region 10.
They were all issued letters of termination by the Local Government and Regional Development Ministry about two weeks ago.
New Local Government Minister, Nigel Dharamlall, had said that the Ministry had lost confidence in the ability of the dismissed REOs to perform.
He noted that “their deportment was inimical to the effective and efficient functioning of the regions they managed. Moreover, they practiced heavy partisan politics… they were void of professionalism and impartiality.”
Wade in the applications filed on behalf of the six dismissed officials is seeking orders from the court that they were wrongfully terminated on the grounds of unfair dismissal and discrimination in contravention of their constitutional rights to freedom of political association guaranteed to every citizen.
According to the court documents seen by this newspaper, the lawyer is seeking a declaration from the Court that the Permanent Secretary of the Local Government Ministry acted unlawfully and unreasonably by terminating the officers.
The lawyers also want a declaration that the fundamental rights of clients have been breached and encroached on by the state.
He asks the Court to declare that the officer’s protection from discrimination is guaranteed by the Articles One and Six of the Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and these were breached when the Local Government Ministry unlawfully dismissed them based on their political opinion and affiliation.
In the action, the lawyer noted that those rights are guaranteed to clients under the domestic laws outlined by Article 154 A and the fourth schedule of the Constitution.
Given the alleged breach, the lawyer stressed further the contract of his client’s employment should only suffer termination in accordance with the law and not on those grounds.The court action comes exactly one week after the Local Government Ministry moved to appoint new people to fill the posts.
According to the Ministry, Deputy Regional Executive Officer for Region One, Teka Bissessar, was appointed REO by the Minister.Devanand Ramdatt, who held the positions of assistant director of youth and former Regional Chairman of the region, was appointed as Region Two’s REO.
Regions Three, Five, Six and Nine is now headed by Jagnarine Somwar, Genevieve Blackman, Narinda Persaud and Karl Singh respectively.
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