by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
- Public Service Commission challenged on transfer of Rachel Roberts
- Transfer to Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office contrary to constitution
A matter has been filed against the Public Service Commission (PSC) challenging the transfer of President of the Public Workers Union, (PWU), Rachel Roberts from her substantive position as Senior Administrative Officer within the Ministry of Health.
The claim filed on 15 March in the High Court, by attorney at law, Cajeton Hood, seeks constitutional relief as it is deemed that her transfer to the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office (CAIPO), effective 28 January, goes contrary to the constitution.
Her attorney contends although the regulation allows for the transfer of public servants at any time, that new post should be equivalent to the previous post held by that public servant. However, referring to a letter informing Rachel Roberts of her transfer, Hood said his client has not been granted this courtesy and was “demoted” to a position without being given a post or a list of duties.
“What the letter says here is that she is assigned to Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office (CAIPO) with effect from the 28th of January until further notice, [so it is basically saying] go over there and stay there until we tell you to go somewhere else… She has not been given a post. We are saying that is you have an established post in the public service, and you are transferred from that post, you have to be transferred to a post at least of equivalent grade.”
Hood likened this present situation to what transpired in the days of Sir Eric Matthew Gairy, and also claims that Registrar of the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office, Annette Henry, is also unaware as to the role and function of Roberts at the organisation.
“She has met with the person in charge of CAIPO on more than one occasion and the person in charge has admitted she doesn’t know what she is doing there. She doesn’t know what to give her to do. Listen to me, she had no training in Intellectual Property. She has a master’s in business administration so what is she doing there? It is a punishment.”
NOW Grenada attempted to confirm that claim with Henry but was unable to reach her and was told that she would be out of office until next Monday.
Hood has also filed a claim on behalf of a teacher at the St Joseph’s Convent St George’s, seeking redress over the “unlawful” deduction from her salary following industrial action by Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT) in which a date of 3 June at High Court #3 has been received. Another application for a class action lawsuit to the High Court with respect to public workers, in general, have also been made claiming that the Government of Grenada has interfered in a manner that is not proscribed under the constitution.
“Unfortunately, we have not received a date for that hearing, we have asked the court to allow for the class action suit to proceed and we have not had a response on that matter as yet,” Hood said.
Meanwhile, Hood denied inference he said were made by Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell in parliament that those claims filed on behalf of public servants were used as a ploy by the newly re-elected president to retain her position as head of the PWU.
“The claim regarding the salary deduction is no gimmick. The claim has been filed and is proceeding on behalf of that teacher, it was not occasioned by the President of the Public Workers Union, it had nothing to do with her election campaign at all. As a matter of fact, when this lady approached me I had already filed on behalf of the teacher so she had absolutely nothing to do with the claim filed for the salary deduction.”
Roberts, who commenced her employment within the Public service in 1989, has held the position of Senior Administrative Officer since 2010.
The matter was brought forward to Minister of Foreign Affairs and Labour, Peter David, during Tuesday’s Post cabinet briefing. He indicated that although he does not have all the details concerning the court matter filed, he is bonded not to give any comments as the matter is now before the court.
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