“Miss Roberts knows that my office is available if she chooses to – if she chooses the court then the magistrates and judges are available. So, I have to keep myself in that mode for now.”
This statement was made by Minister of Labour, Peter David in response to the decision taken by the President of the Public Workers Union (PWU), Rachel Roberts to seek legal redress over her transfer from the Ministry of Education as Senior Administrative Officer to an unspecified position at the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office (CAIPO).
Roberts and her attorney-at-law, Cajeton Hood told reporters last week that they have taken the matter to court to seek a ruling that the Keith Mitchell-led government should pay her gratuity and pension as if she had been retired from the service.
David described the transfer of Roberts to CAIPO as nothing new to the public service.
He said: “There are transfers every day in the public service. I am not sure about the details of this one (Roberts case), except to say that it is my understanding that the matter is now being addressed by the Attorney General, by Lawyers and as a lawyer (myself) the one thing I know is that when a matter is going before the court you kind of keep quiet because there is a big word they use ‘subjudice’.
“…I don’t know the details. I’m not sure where it’s heading, but as the Labour Minister, I am always very careful – both as Labour Minister and as an attorney – I know that one does not want to put one’s mouth on an issue that will end up in court and it has been said it’s going to the court, lest I am called as a witness and secondly that as Labour Minister the matter may come before you at some point.
According to Minister David, he intends to treat the Roberts matter as similar to his position on the 25% impasse between government and teachers and public officers because the matter might eventually end up on his test for adjudication.
“…So as with the teachers issue and other issues, people are saying where is Peter, Peter ain’t saying anything. Peter ain’t saying anything because my job requires me to say nothing until I am asked to say something by the parties to the matter”, he told reporters.
David is also the elected Member of the Town of St. George and Roberts is known to be one of his constituents.