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Feb 2, 2016

Open Vote Case Concludes in the Supreme Court

Melissa Belezaire Tucker

The Supreme Court today finished hearing a case that could have impact on the employment of so-called “open vote workers”, those persons who work for Government, but not under formal contract or in a permanent capacity in the Public Service. Former Ministry of Education employee Melissa Belezaire Tucker was employed for seventeen years, from 1995 to 2013, when she was terminated from the Public Service. Tucker says she was first appointed as a teacher and then, in 1999, as the School Feeding and Health Coordinator. But she was never confirmed in the post despite recommendations to do so from her bosses to the Public Service Commission and approval from the Ministry of Finance as far back as 2006. She claims she was even promised a pay rise after obtaining Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees. But things came to a head in 2013 over an alleged conflict of interest. Tucker discussed that aspect of the case after court hearings concluded this morning.

 

Melissa Belezaire Tucker

“In 2013, I encountered a matter that they believed was a conflict of interest. I had made a recommendation for someone that was related to me to a person who was awarded a contract for the school’s meal program. My supervisor brought it to my attention that I had violated the Public Services Regulations and they had quoted nineteen and twenty of the Public Service Regulation. My stand was that I believed that I had not violated that set of regulation. But given if I had, I was saying that there should have been due process. You should have then said let the Public Services Commission address the matter of whether I should be dismissed or disciplined. They did not do that. Instead of doing that—having failed to send across my recommendation—they decided to just summarily dismiss me without even allowing me to have the full benefits, such as gratuity and so forth. They did not do that. And so based on all of this, it was a matter of standing for justice; you don’t get to just summarily dismiss somebody after you’ve failed to send across something that would allow them to be protected by a set of regulations and left me open to the whim of the executive. And for that I strongly disagreed with their actions.”

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1 Response for “Open Vote Case Concludes in the Supreme Court”

  1. Greeneyes says:

    I’m happy that someone brought this to light. If you would do a survey on how many workers are open vote in government you would be surprise. Majority of them work in life treating positions, some even holds the title of Manager. I really hope more comes out because, the Prime Minister had promised to make all open vote, full staff from his first term and today date nothing has change

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