A new date has to be set for a case involving embattled Cabinet Secretary, Gemma Bain-Thomas and the 15-month old Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) administration.
The case was scheduled for hearing last week Thursday but had to be put back due to the lack of a courthouse to facilitate High Court No.3
Lawyers have been served notice from the Registrar of the Supreme Court notifying them that all matters listed for the #3 High Court have been put off until further notice.
In a brief telephone interview with THE NEW TODAY newspaper, Executive member of the Grenada Bar Association (GBA), Lisa Taylor said that only specially arranged hearings for injunction matters are heard at the #1 High Court once per week in a civil jurisdiction.
High Courts No.1 and 2 deal specifically with criminal matters.
Taylor said that the GBA was informed last week that the #3 High Court is expected to re-open and be functional by June 16.
The court is presided over by Trinidad jurist, Madam Justice Margaret Mohammed.
The Gemma Bain-Thomas case, brought against government and the Public Service Commission (PSC) headed by defense attorney, Derek Sylvester, involves an assertion by the top civil servant that she has been treated badly by Prime Minister Mitchell since he returned to office in February 2013.
Bain-Thomas is being represented by former Attorney-General, Rohan Phillip.
She is asking the high court to threat her as someone who was forced into retirement by the Mitchell administration.
Bain-Thomas was appointed to the post of Cabinet Secretary by the 2008-2013 National Democratic Congress (NDC) government of Prime Minister Tillman Thomas.
In documents filed before the Supreme Court registry, the Cabinet Secretary cited instances in which Prime Minister Mitchell indicated to her that he did not trust her being around him.
She said: “On November 5, 2013, following the completion of a Management Team meeting with the Honourable Prime Minister, he asked me to remain for us to have a short meeting. I was then told by the Honourable Prime Minister that he was in receipt of a report to the effect that I was leaking information from the Management Team Meeting and as such he was recommending that I no longer attend such meetings. No evidence was provided to substantiate this accusation and the Honourable Prime Minister acknowledged that there was “no smoking gun”.
“At the said meeting with the Honourable Prime Minister, he also suggested that I can proceed on paid study leave in light of the fact that I am undertaking a programme at St. George’s University. I informed the Honourable Prime Minister that I was not eligible for the grant of study leave based on the existing study leave policy and Union agreement, but he (Dr. Mitchell) indicated that he will discuss the issue further with the Honourable Attorney General.
“I indicated to the Honourable Prime Minister at the said meeting that I am not aware of having leaked out any information, and that the situation was an uncomfortable one and maybe we should sever ties. I further indicated to the Honourable Prime Minister that in light of this development I was going to apply for some vacation leave.
“Following the said meeting with the Honourable Prime Minister I applied for 14 working days vacation leave effective November 6, 2013 because I was forced to come to the conclusion that there is an apparent lack of trust and confidence in me by the Honourable Prime Minister and as such this made it impractical, if not impossible, for me to perform the assigned duties”, she added.
The aggrieved Cabinet Secretary is asking the court to grant her the following relief measures:
(1). A declaration that when Her Excellency the Governor General acting in accordance with the advice of the Public Service Commission (PSC) transferred the Claimant (Bain-Thomas) with effect from February 17, 2014 “to hold another post in the Public Service in Grade M to be determined by the PSC”, Her Excellency the Governor General acted irrationally and or unreasonably and or arbitrarily and or surrendered and or abdicated her discretion, each of which circumstances rendered the transfer a contravention of section 85 (2) of the Constitution of Grenada and therefore unconstitutional, null and void, and of no effect in law.
(2). A declaration that the decision of the PSC to approve the appointment of the Claimant to the post of Executive Director of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter (Combating) Terrorism Financing Commission (AML/CTFC), Ministry of Legal Affairs with effect from February 17, 2014 was contrary to or a contravention of section 85 (2) of the Constitution of Grenada and is therefore unconstitutional, null and void, and of no effect in law.
(3). A declaration that the purported transfer of the Claimant to the post of Executive Director of AML/CTFC, Ministry of Legal Affairs and the circumstances leading up thereto was in reality a termination of the Claimant’s appointment of Secretary to the Cabinet to facilitate the re-organisation of her Department, the Office of the Prime Minister as a consequence of the new administration assuming the government as provided for by regulation 46 of the PSC Regulations, 1969.
(4). A declaration that the post of Executive Director of AML/CTFC, Ministry of Legal Affairs is not a post in the Public Service of Grenada of an equivalent status to that of the Secretary to the Cabinet of Grenada to which the Claimant may be transferred pursuant to regulation 46 (6) of the PSC Regulations, 1969, thus requiring the Claimant to retire from the Public Service of Grenada for the re-organisation of her Department, the Office of the Prime Minister within the meaning of section 84 (8) of the Constitution of Grenada.
(5). A declaration that the Claimant having been required to retire for the re-organisation of the Department, the Office of the Prime Minister, she is entitled to be paid pension and retiring benefits as if she had attained the compulsory retirement age as guaranteed by section 84 (8) of the Constitution of Grenada.
(7). Such further or other order as to His Honourable Court seems just.