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Justice Kennard feels disrespected by government

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By Leroy Smith
Today in an exclusive interview with the News Room, Retired Justice and Chairman of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) said that he believes that the government was disrespectful to him.

He was at the time responding to the manner in which he was asked to leave office by a way of a letter. The letter which gave him 36 hours to vacate the office he occupied, while he was out of the country.

“What shock me is the shortness of notice and I can tell you what happened, I was in Antigua on a short vacation with my family on the 30th which was a Friday. At 10:50 my secretary rang me and said that there was a letter by Mr. Harmon who said that he was directed by the president that my service would have come to an end next day which was the 31st” Kennard related.

“I find that was most shocking, disrespectful and upsetting” he said.

Justice Kennard added that “if they wanted to replace me I would expect the decent thing to do would be to call me in or write me and say thank you for your service and your service would come to an end but give me reasonable notice you cannot ask a person two days to demit office and expect the persons to finish what work he or she has to do.”

He reminded that even ordinary persons are given one month’s notice but given the office he holds, he would have expected at least three months notice as it is reasonable, respectable and provides enough time to get unfinished work done.

After receiving the letter, Justice Kennard said he made contact with Minister Ramjattan who promised to look into the matter and shortly after, he received a call. The call from the Minister’s secretary stated that his term has been extended but no mention was made as it relates to what date. He believes that a letter should still be sent to him informing him of the extension or the termination and that ought to be done in a reasonable time.

“Honestly I would have expected that a senior officer like me is given three months notice and leaving out the 36 hours, to ask me to ask me within two months; One of the things I have to do is the annual report and that will take some  time and I have to finish it and send it to the Minister of Public Security before the end of march and I need some time and I cannot only concentrate on the annual report, there are files coming in there are reports but if they give me the time, I will get the work done but that is not to say that I will try to complete my annual report but not that I am not going to try now but as I said, I am very shock, upset and disturbed” he told News Room.

Justice Kennard said that he will not hold the government to ransom but made it clear that his extension or termination have to be placed into writing and within a reasonable time as it remains the decent thing to do.

He was asked if he believes the decision by the government to ask him to vacate his office was political but he responded in the negative.

He, however, expressed concerns with the so-called policy which the government is using as its basis to get him out of the position.

“Mr. Granger is saying a question of policy which they formulated last year but what I am concerned about, you cannot formulate a policy without making it public so that people know. If you read what Mr. David Hinds say, you have to formulate a policy and then let people know where they stand, but you cannot then send home people and then say we formulate a policy. Maybe that’s the way they see it, I would not criticise them but I think it’s wrong, as legally trained man, you have to formulate a policy then act on the policy you cannot send home people and then say it’s because of age” Justice Kennard outlined.

Following the publication of the decision, President David Granger told media operatives that his Government is “focused on creating an atmosphere in which other persons, who are younger, are able to take a lead.” He noted that a general review is being undertaken of the State Boards, Agencies and Commissions, with the aim of establishing an age of retirement for persons who sit on these Government arms.

However, during the same interview, he did apologise to Justice Kennard for the short notice.

Today Kennard said that he is pleased with the response by the president but maintains, he was disrespected by the state which he served so faithfully, diligently and with distinction.

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