Aggrieved public servants urged to seek redress through tribunal
Public Servants who are aggrieved with the decisions made by the Public Service Commission (PSC) can seek redress through the Public Service Appellate Tribunal which is akin to a court.
While the tribunal assures that workers will not be victimised, the law is silent on penalties to be enforced if the authority fails to implement the ruling of the panel.
Justice Nandram Kissoon, the Chairman of the three-member panel, said public servants should not be scared to bring their concerns to the tribunal.
“Public servants are afraid of their boss, their superior or supervisor but there should be no fear whatsoever. What we have to do is ensure that the Public Service Ministry and the Public Service Union sensitise and educate and make the public servants aware that they have nothing to be afraid of. They are free to come to the Public Service Appellate Tribunal anytime,” he stated.
Unfortunately, recommendations made by the tribunal are not enforced by a penalty.
“The decision of the Appellate Tribunal is final and it must be carried out by the authorities. If it is not carried out then we have a problem because we have no rule to enforce it,” Justice Kissoon said.
The Chairman said he will be expanding on this loophole in the tribunal’s annual report. The Tribunal is the body designated to hear the concerns of public workers seeking redress against decisions made by the PSC.
So far, the tribunal has three cases before them for consideration. All complaints must be filed within 90 days of the decision being made by the PSC.
Attorney Abiola Wong-Inniss, who is a member of the tribunal, explained that the tribunal is a more expeditious and less costly access to redress than going through the courts.
Meanwhile, Minister of State Joseph Harmon assured that there will be protection against victimization or discrimination for anyone who comes to the tribunal.
The tribunal is empowered to summon witnesses and make requests for documents and other pieces of evidence.
After being out of operation for more than two decades, the tribunal was resuscitated by President David Granger in May 2017. The other member of the tribunal is Winston Brown.