Thu | Sep 21, 2017

Court decision May 16 on injunction sought by JSE regulator

Published:Sunday | May 7, 2017 | 5:00 AMMcPherse Thompson
Wentworth Graham, Chief Regulatory Officer in the JSE Regulatory and Market Oversight Division.

The Supreme Court has reserved its decision until May 16 on whether to grant an injunction barring the Jamaica Stock Exchange Limited (JSE) from convening a disciplinary hearing against its chief regulatory officer, Wentworth Graham, pending the outcome of proceedings at the Industrial Disputes Tribunal (IDT) over his suspension.

Justice Vivene Harris is also expected to rule on that date whether Graham, who the JSE suspended in mid-January, should continue in his employment.

He would have faced disciplinary hearings in March, according to a letter laying out a series of issues against him dating back several years, but he began fighting the suspension immediately by asking the Ministry of Labour and Social Security for a hearing.

Attorney Georgia Gibson-Henlin QC made submissions on Graham's behalf last Monday with respect to the injunctive relief and reinstatement in his job, while the JSE's attorney, Patrick Foster QC, concluded his submissions on Wednesday, after which the judge reserved her decision.

The hearing before the IDT is not scheduled to start before the Supreme Court hands down its decision.

In addition to the injunction and the declaration seeking to remain or continue in his employment in accordance with its terms, Graham is seeking damages for, among other things, breach of contract of employment, loss of investment income since 2008 or, alternatively, retroactive salary from that year.

Those are contained in a claim he filed in the Supreme Court on April 24 in which Marlene Street Forrest, who was recently promoted to managing director, has been named first defendant in her former capacity as company secretary and general manager, and the JSE the second defendant.

 

ENSURING COMPLIANCE

 

As chief regulatory officer in the Regulatory and Market Oversight Division of the JSE, Graham's job is to ensure that listed companies and licensed brokers comply with the rules and regulations of the JSE.

According to the particular of claim, Graham is contending that the JSE flouted and disregarded his contract, the Labour Relations and Industrial Disputes Act and the Labour Relations Code by refusing to attend conciliation proceedings following his suspension.

The JSE, Graham further contends, has advanced and maintained an argument that he was not suspended because he is being paid, even though he has been directed not to show up to work and was physically barred from doing so when he attempted to attend.

Among other things, he argues that in 2008 when he was appointed, the JSE advised him that he would be paid 50 per cent of the chief regulatory officer's compensation and emoluments in year one, and if he performed creditably, he would be paid the full compensation thereafter.

He is saying that although he met that and other requirements the JSE has breached that promise because to date he has not received the compensation expected.

mcpherse.thompson@gleanerjm.com