Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator
The government has asked the Judicial Review Court to set aside an application by public sector doctors who are challenging the Administration’s reclassification of the health sector.
The government, represented by Attorney-at-Law Carlene Larmond, argued that the time limit for judicial review has passed and the application should be thrown out.
Larmond further argued that the reopening of the decision to implement the reclassification would have an adverse impact on the government’s agreement with the International Monetary Fund.
It was pointed out that Jamaica has agreed to achieve certain targets under the deal and failure to meet those requirements would jeopardise the sustainability of the agreement.
The lawyer further pointed out that some $7 billion has been budgeted to implement the reclassification exercise and if the court were to rule in the claimant’s favour the government would then have to find an additional two billion dollars.
Larmond argued that court has no power to direct the government on how to deal with the reclassification exercise and it ought to avoid any remedy which would substitute the decision maker.
The lawyer representing the Jamaica Medical Doctors Association, which filed the application, argued that the reclassification exercise is flawed.
Attorney-at-Law Denise Kitson submitted that the reclassification exercise has resulted in medical officers being remunerated at approximately two and half pay band levels below the current band position.
Kitson further argued that the reclassification has placed medical officers below many other public sector professionals such as nurses who they continue to instruct and supervisor.
She said this has breached their legitimate expectations.
Kitson argued that the application for judicial review was filed within the required timeframe.
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