High Court reverses dismissal of Royston King
High Court Judge Simone Morris-Ramlall Friday ruled that the Local Government Commission (LGC) unlawfully set up a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the operations of the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) and acted blindly on its findings and recommendations.
One of the recommendations from the COI, which was headed by Justice (Ret’d) Cecil Kennard, was the dismissal of Town Clerk Royston King, who was fired at the start of this year.
The judge granted the Order of Certiorari quashing the decision of the LGC to summarily dismiss him from the post of Town Clerk. As such, King will remain on administrative leave.
She also granted an Order of Certiorari against the LGC.
The Judge further ruled that the findings and recommendations of the COI are null and void.
During the COI, King was cited for gross misconduct, abuse of office, recklessness, dishonesty, conspiracy, and misappropriation of funds.
However, he moved to the High Court to challenge his dismissal, claiming that, among other things, the Commission violated his right to a hearing and that the Commission had no right to cite him for gross misconduct in public office since the charge is linked to a criminal offence.
On Friday, Justice Morris-Ramlall in her ruling pointed out that the LGC unlawfully delegated its investigation powers to a body (the COI.
By doing this, the Judge explained the LGC committed a great error and made an unlawful delegation and the decisions made by the COI must be quashed.
“The respondent (LGC) acted blindly acted upon the recommendation of the COI,” the Judge said.
King was represented by Attorneys- at-law Maxwell Edwards and Patrice Henry. The state was represented by Solicitor General Nigel Hawke.
King is asking for the LGC to reinstate him to his previous post immediately and/ or to pay him all his superannuation benefits, inclusive of pension, gratuity, payment in lieu of annual leave, up until he attains the age of retirement, on January 29, 2020.
He also claimed for cost and aggregative damages for his benefits while on administrative leave and compensation for public embarrassment and humiliation.
He called for interest calculated at 4% per annum from the date of filing of the application, until the judgment and at 6% per annum from the date of judgment up until full payment, excluding court cost, is made.
The grounds of the application stated that the LGC acted in “indecent” haste by summarily dismissing King without a hearing and on the recommendations of the COI.