Time and time again I have told you
that there is no justice in this country, I hardly ever address individual
cases but tonight I want to visit the case of the 7 employees of the supreme
court registry who were dismissed by Ms. Sita Ramlall. And the consequences of
the actions of Ramlall, the Secretary to the Treasury, Minister Gopaul, and the
Minister of Finance.
On march 18th 2002, 7
employees of the supreme court registry were dismissed by Ms Ramlall, I will
not go into the reasons why they were dismissed here tonight since I am taking
up this case at the point where in the high court on the 26th day of
August 2002 Judge Madam Y Cummings-Edwards ruled in case number 73-M 2002
Demerara, that these employees were wrongly dismissed since the decision of
Ramlall was and I quote "unconstitutional, in breach of the principles of
justice, is unreasonable, arbitrary, in excess of jurisdiction, without legal
authority, ultra vires, null, void and of no legal effect" the judge further
ordered that and I quote her decision again "it is further ordered that the
applicants named be reinstated to their respective positions"
But the employees returned to work were
given no work to do and were never paid.
On the 12th September 2002
Ms. Ramlall wrote the permanent secretary Public Service Ministry Nandra Gopaul,
in that letter she informs Gopaul that she had been ordered by the court to
reinstate these seven employees but since the judge had declared that she had
no authority to dismiss them in the first place, it would have to be the Public
Service Ministry who would have to reinstate them. By copy of this same letter
she informed the secretary to the treasury that the seven vacancies had been
filled and since these employees now had to be reinstated it would exceed the
number of authorised employees in the registry and require an additional
budgetary allocation to do so.
In a letter dated the 17th September
2002 from the chief personnel officer Nickram on behalf of P.S. Gopaul informs
Ramlall that he has forwarded her request for money to pay the seven employees to
the secretary Public Service Commission for appropriate action but that,
she, Ramlall should take no action whatever until she hears from the Public Service
Commission. Gopaul however lies to the public in a statement in the newspaper
that these seven people will be paid.
Gopaul then receives a letter from the
secretary to the treasury dated 17th September 2002 which states
inter ailia that and I quote it "please be advised that due to the fact that
those vacancies were filled and funds have not been allocated for
additional employees, I would be unable to fund additional employment cost in
the supreme court" so Ms. Ramlall was now in a box or as we Guyanese would say
up the creek without a paddle, she requested that someone reinstate these
dismissed employees and her request was declined but it is her neck that is on
the chopping block. The workers physically returned to their positions but they
were not given any tasks to perform and they were not being paid. So they and
their union decided to sue for contempt of court.
On the 19th day of December
2002 the contempt of court proceedings were filed by the seven employees
against the Minister of Finance, the Attorney General and the Registrar of the
Supreme Court, Sita Ramlall.
Incredibly the judge Ms. Dawn
Gregory-Barnes in this second matter notwithstanding that it was the Secretary
to the Treasury who is a subordinate officer of the Minister of Finance who had
refused to release the money to pay these employees after a direct request from
Sita Ramlall, dismisses the order against the Minister of Finance and the Attorney
General, and held Ramlall solely responsible to pay these employees.
The judge then gives Sita Ramlall time
to appeal before she was cited for contempt of court in not carrying out the
decision of Justice Cummings-Edwards.
In the hearings that followed Ramlall
again presented the judge with evidence that her written requests to reinstate
these employees to the Public Service Ministry and the Ministry of Finance were
turned down and that unless she personally paid them there was nothing that she
could do. The result was that to this day these employees have not been paid a
cent for almost one year since the 18th March
2002 when they were dismissed by Ramlall. And Ramlall
was cited for contempt of court in not discharging the ruling of Justice Cummings-Edwards.
It was with total disbelief that I read
the above documents and came to the conclusion that MS. Ramlall, not a
favourite pal of mine as I have commented on her before. was left in such a
ridiculous position by a High Court Judge who totally misunderstood the
situation and released the real culprits in the matter the Minister of Finance
and the Attorney General and held Ramlall solely responsible for this entire
Let me recap this for you ladies and
gentlemen seven employees were dismissed by Ramlall, they went to court, they
won the case, the judge reinstated them in fact the judge ruled that Ramlall
did not have the authority to dismiss them in the first place so they were never
fired at all, Ramlall then writes the people at Finance and informs them of the
ruling, But they refuse to allocate any further money to pay them, the
employees then take the Minister of Finance, the Attorney General and Ramlall
to court for contempt and the learned judge discharges the matter against the
main culprits in the matter and holds Ramlall personally responsible for the entire
I thought that I had heard everything.
But this one takes the cake.
These employees came to me with their
documentation since they can see no end to the matter in sight, since even
though Ms. Ramlall was cited for contempt she still cannot pay them unless she
does so from her own pocket. In looking for the truth in this matter I
discovered this atrocity that has been perpetrated against Ramlall. And that is
the simple truth ladies and gentlemen.
This matter should be examined again
and the real culprits be brought before the courts and jailed since they
allowed a gross miscarriage of justice by being above the law.
It is what I have been telling you all
along ladies and gentlemen senior functionaries within this government are
above the law, they can commit any offence and get away with it, they can even
leave their Registrar of the Supreme Court to take all of the heat and stay in
the fire whilst they continue to refuse to release the finances to pay these
seven people, out of what appears to be sheer spite or total disinterest. I
never thought that the day would come when I would feel sorry for Sita Ramlall,
but I do now.
The Minister of Finance should be cited
for contempt the Attorney General should also be so cited since he represents
the state whose actions in this matter will not stand scrutiny, because tonight,
Justice Vieira says that they are the real culprits in this matter and should
not be allowed to get away with it.
In the mean time someone will have to
pay these poor employees who have not received a cent in nearly one year.
Again I have to tell you, if there is
no justice in this country, then people are left with no alternative but to
take the law into their own hands, it is what has caused all of our ills, all
of the violence, all of the unnecessary and destructive public protests.
For example yesterday the Commissioner
of police called the media to a press conference at which he stated that he
will entertain no questions. His statement to the media was that the results of
his high level investigation concerning the killing of Yohance Douglas was sent
to the DPP and the police complaints authority. Please correct me if I am wrong
Commissioner but the police complaints authority is where citizens aggrieved by
the POLICE go to seek justice, not where the police go to seek justice from the
PUBLIC. The DPP according to Mr. Raphael Trotman is a place where all matters
go to be buried without benefit of clergy.
This is a matter that has taken on urgent
national and international importance since the United Nations and Amnesty International
have taken an active interest in it, not to mention the numerous marches and
protests by the university of Guyana students and other concerned
citizens, but Pontius Mc Donald sends it to the DPP to be buried. He does not
even give the names of the phantoms that perpetrated this atrocity.
All of this talk of a high level police
investigation was absolute nonsense, a sham, to buy time whilst the public
furore in this matter died a natural death, high level police investigation my a..donkey,
ladies and gentlemen the only way our police Commissioner can conduct a high
level investigation, is if we put his desk on top of Mount Roraima.