High Court Ruling Reveals Shameful Disregard For Rules

PRESS RELEASE NDP

A recent ruling by the High Court ruling reveals a shameful disregard for rules and regulations in the promotion process in the public service.

In a recent judgment, Justice Esco Henry ruled in favour of the Public Service Union (PSU) in its case against the Public Service Commission (PSC). You may have had an opportunity to read the judgment and certainly would have heard public comments about it. There is no way of sugar coating it (and I know some in the ULP have tried): this is a bombshell of a judgment!

The PSU complained on behalf of its members (seven of whom gave evidence in the case) that the PSC failed to comply with regulations governing promotions in the Public Service.  The relevant Regulation are Regulation 15, 18, 19, 20 and 27. (See para. 15 of Judgment). The PSC countered that it complied the regulations in doing its job.

In a scathing judgment (see paras. 141 and 143 which criticised the Chairman and PSC), Justice Henry ruled that the PSC had failed to comply with the regulations governing promotions. (see para. 217 of judgment).

The Court found that the specific officers who testified in the case were wronged by the PSC in the promotions process and were entitled to redress. It also recognized the damaging effects of the PSC’s bad practices will have on the government if they are not corrected urgently. (see para. 218)

So, if seniority lists were not kept, an annual assessment of officers was not done, posts were not advertised, how were appointments and promotions being made? How can we say there is no frien’ frien’ business, when there is no record to show on what basis promotions were made?  How can we say people were not victimized or passed over for reasons that had nothing to do with their performance?

 We cannot!   Where is the transparency that this ULP government is so loudly and persistently trumpeting? There is clearly none.

It is good that this case was brought to Court because if anyone had spoken about these practices by the PSC anecdotally or even from personal experience, there would have been much hand-wringing by the Prime minister and all sorts of denials.

There would have been assertion of the government’s adherence to the principle of good governance and much talk about how transparent the government was in appointments and promotion in the service.  But, now it is all out there for the world to see.  The emperor has no clothes!

I salute the courage of the officers who gave evidence in the case. I have heard that efforts were made to get people from across the Service to testify so that the judgment could cover, not just the areas where the seven who testified worked, but the whole service.

But, people were afraid to testify because that would have exposed them to possible retribution and punishment in their jobs.

We must change that culture of fear in the public service so that people can voice their opinions and stand up for their rights. when they function properly, the whole government benefits and by extension the entire country benefits.