Tue | Sep 25, 2018

Court orders reinstatement of 'retired' public official

Published:Saturday | June 30, 2018 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett/Senior Gleaner Writer
Hugh Wildman

The Supreme Court has ordered the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries to immediately reinstate a senior official who was sent on 'retirement' four years early. The order was made by Justice Georgianna Fraser in the Supreme Court yesterday.

Arthurine Webb was director of corporate affairs at the ministry up to March this year when, according to her, she received a letter signed by Permanent Secretary Donovan Stanberry indicating that she "has been retired from the public service".

Hugh Wildman, the attorney representing Webb, said that Stanberry explained that this was due to a reorganisation at the ministry.

Webb complained that the sudden actions of the ministry left her in financial ruin. "She can't afford to pay her mortgage and meet other financial obligations," Wildman told The Gleaner. As a result, she went to the Supreme Court, seeking permission to take her case to the Judicial Review Court for an order to quash the decision to retire her.

The Supreme Court was scheduled to hear her application yesterday, but the case was postponed until July 20 after lawyers for the ministry requested an adjournment. However, before the adjournment, Justice Fraser ordered that Webb's 'retirement' be placed on hold following an application by Wildman.

The order will remain in effect until July 20, and Wildman said that his client would be back at her post on Monday.

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com