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Hanna to face questions on Bartley in Parliament

Published:Tuesday | March 18, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Youth and Culture Minister Lisa Hanna will today face tough questions from the parliamentary Opposition on the employment status of Sydney Bartley, permanent secretary in her ministry.

Hanna has already thrown down the gauntlet, insisting that Bartley cannot continue in the ministry following allegations of sexual misconduct.

Hanna's opposition counterpart, Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, tabled questions in the House of Representatives about three weeks ago enquiring if Bartley was still in the post or whether disciplinary action was taken against him.

In her query, Grange said if disciplinary action had been taken against Bartley, she wanted to know what conduct or breach led to the action.

On March 9, The Sunday Gleaner reported that Bartley had gone to court in an attempt to block efforts to force his early retirement.

No power to dismiss Bartley

In an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court on March 3, Hanna said while she had no power to retire or dismiss Bartley, based on the allegations against him, she believed that with the trust and integrity implications, he could not continue in the ministry.

"I told the applicant (Bartley) that ... I would not be comfortable with his continuing to have overall responsibility for the protection of children in Jamaica. I remain firmly of that view," said Hanna as she responded to documents filed in the court on February 26 by Bartley.

He had gone to court to prevent what he said was an effort to force his early retirement or the risk of interdiction.

In documents filed in the Supreme Court on February 26, Bartley named Hanna; chief personnel officer in the Office of the Services Commission, Dr Lois Parkes; and Children's Advocate Diahann Gordon-Harrison as respondents.

In his claim, Bartley asked the court for a declaration that Hanna and Parkes "acted unreasonably, recklessly and in excess of their power" when they decided to send him on "premature retirement, failing which [he] would be interdicted from duty on half salary".