The Public Service Union (PSU) has described as “vexing” a case in which one of its members is still waiting to be reinstated some three years after a sex charge against him was dismissed.
Head of the PSU, Elroy Boucher, did not disclose the identity of the worker or the nature of the charge when he spoke about the situation at a press conference on Tuesday.
He, however, said that the worker in question was a hospital attendant.
He said that for two years, the union has been pushing for the worker’s reinstatement adding that government was violating the worker’s rights
“And the public service regulation is quite clear on that. If you are charged with a criminal offence, you are to be suspended with or without pay pending the outcome of the case. If you are freed of the charge or charges, you ought to be reinstated. And these are within the laws of our country and the constitution and still it is so difficult to get some simple things done,” Boucher said.
Boucher said the union had been discussing the issue with now retired Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Luis de Shong, and his successor, Cuthbert Knights.
“The gentleman has been without work for three-plus years. As far as we are aware, he is still an employee of the Ministry of Health,” Boucher said.
He told the media that legal action is one option in getting the situation rectified, but said that the union did not take any such action because prior to de Shong retiring, he had given the assurance that “the gentleman would be reinstated and all his salary payments paid for the time he has been out.
“He gave us that assurance. Then he retired soon after. So, we had the hope that that would be done as of last year. It is sad.”
Boucher said he would not say that the union is being taken for a ride.
“I would say this: It is important to give the authorities, the senior public officers the benefit of the doubt that they are doing something.
“Whenever a union decides that it is going to take action, whatever action they take, it must be as a result of getting nowhere in trying to resolve any matter in a very peaceful way. And we have been quite patient with all of these.” Boucher said.
He added: “In this country, I will always say that patience ran out before, it will run out again.”
When asked about the nature of the charges against the attendant, Boucher said, “I don’t want to get into that. Just to say that the charges were dismissed.”
He, however, said that his reluctance to speak about the nature of the charges is not an indication of why the reinstatement might be taking so long to reinstate the worker.
“The authorities ought to follow the law,” said Boucher, who disclosed that the worker has been a hospital attendant for 14 years.
“The nature of our people at times, we tend to pronounce judgment, especially based on the sensitivity of issues,” Boucher said.