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Government Fails To Act On Privy Council Ruling For Municipal Officers

Discussion in 'Politics and Gov Discussions' started by unknown, Jul 27, 2016.

  1. unknown

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    Government Fails to act on privy council ruling for municipal Officers

    Municipal police.png
    The previous government and now the current has not adhered to the direct ruling from the privy council in favor for The Trinidad and Tobago Municipal Officers. This is not only a gross disrespect to the officers who perform the same duties as TTPS officers but for the Government of Trinidad and Tobago failing to act on a direct ruling from the privy council is a direct contempt of court. It clearly shows how the government respects the courts and the laws of this country. Its a very sad day to know that every day than passes before the government rewards the municipal officers interest will occur.

    The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago has a national police service and a number of municipal police services. The appellants are 153 municipal police officers (“MPOs”) from the cities of Port of Spain and San Fernando and the boroughs of Arima and Point Fortin. They are employed by their city or borough corporation. The corporations are established and governed by the Municipal Corporations Act 1990. They also fall within the provisions of the Statutory Authorities Act 1966. 2. As a group, the appellants comprise most of the Republic’s MPOs. They complain that for over a decade they have unjustifiably been treated less favourably than regular police officers (“RPOs”) particularly in terms of their remuneration. They claim that their rights under the Constitution have been violated. They rely on the right of the individual to equality before the law and the protection of the law (section 4(b)); and on the right, subject to qualifications which are not presently material, to such procedural provisions as are necessary for the purpose of giving effect and protection to their constitutional rights and freedoms (section 5(2)(h))

    The appellants are members of municipal police associations formed to represent the interests of MPOs serving in their respective municipalities. They have conducted or tried to have negotiations with the government, but because the regulations envisaged by section 26 of the Statutory Authorities Act had not been made, they did not have statutory recognition under the Act and so they did not have a right to the statutory scheme of consultation and dispute resolution. Consequently MPOs had no right of access to the Industrial Court through their representative organizations; and they had no right of access to the court as individuals, because RPOs and MPOs are excluded by section 2(3)(b) of the Act from the definition of a “worker”.

    Until 2000 MPOs were paid the same basic salary as RPOs. Other allowances paid to MPOs, such as for food and housing, were about 60% of the equivalent allowances paid to RPOs. In 2000, as a result of a job evaluation exercise, the Ministry of Finance agreed to an increase in the salaries of RPOs by incorporating a new service allowance into the basic salary. No such job evaluation has been carried out in relation to the municipal police services, and there has continued to be a significant differential between the basic salaries of RPOs and MPOs. By way of illustration, the basic salary of a corporal in the Page 4 municipal services is $325 per month less than a corporal in the regular service, and for an assistant superintendent the differential is $500 per month.


    The judge upheld the other two complaints and made the following declarations: “1) A declaration that the State in failing and/or refusing to make regulations under section 26 of the Statutory Authorities Act has and continues to deny the Applicants access to a court of justice for the determination of their rights and obligations in breach of their right to the protection of the law guaranteed under section 4(b) of the Constitution. 2) A declaration that the State in failing and/or refusing to make regulations under section 60 of the Municipal Corporations Act and sections 6, 26 and 28 of the Statutory Authorities Act has and continues to deny the Applicants the right to such procedural provisions guaranteed to them by section 5(2)(h) of the Constitution for the purpose of giving effect to their rights and freedoms under the said section 4(b) of the Constitution.”

    The respondent appealed against all the adverse findings and orders of the judge. The MPOs appealed against her rejection of their equal pay complaint and her refusal to allow so-called vindicatory damages.

    At the hearing of the appeal counsel for the respondent informed the Board that steps were being taken to meet the MPOs’ regulatory concerns and to comply, belatedly, with the order of the Court of Appeal, but there was no evidence about this and counsel was not able to be more specific.

    More significantly, the respondent also brought it to the Board’s attention that on 24 October 2014 (11 days after the hearing before the Board) the SASC introduced the Municipal Police Service Regulations 2014. These regulations were made under section 60 of the Municipal Corporations Act, but the respondent’s accompanying note stated that they were intended to achieve the objective of providing regulations as required both by that section and section 26 of the Statutory Authorities Act. The note referred in particular to regulations 172-177 as intended to provide for the recognition of the appropriate association(s) of MPOs. There are, however, a number of defects. For example, regulation 177 empowers “the Minister” (defined as meaning the Minister to whom responsibility for national security is assigned), if satisfied that an association satisfies section 34 of “the Act”, to cause a notice of recognition to be published. But the regulations contain no definition of “the Act” and they Page 13 provide no indication of what rights follow from recognition. It is unclear what, if any, connection exists between recognition under regulation 177 and the provisions of the Industrial Relations Act. The Board put these and other questions to the respondent. 52. In a further note the respondent drew the Board’s attention to section 14 of the

    More significantly, the respondent also brought it to the Board’s attention that on 24 October 2014 (11 days after the hearing before the Board) the SASC introduced the Municipal Police Service Regulations 2014. These regulations were made under section 60 of the Municipal Corporations Act, but the respondent’s accompanying note stated that they were intended to achieve the objective of providing regulations as required both by that section and section 26 of the Statutory Authorities Act. The note referred in particular to regulations 172-177 as intended to provide for the recognition of the appropriate association(s) of MPOs. There are, however, a number of defects. For example, regulation 177 empowers “the Minister” (defined as meaning the Minister to whom responsibility for national security is assigned), if satisfied that an association satisfies section 34 of “the Act”, to cause a notice of recognition to be published. But the regulations contain no definition of “the Act” and they Page 13 provide no indication of what rights follow from recognition. It is unclear what, if any, connection exists between recognition under regulation 177 and the provisions of the Industrial Relations Act. The Board put these and other questions to the respondent.

    Conclusion 53. The appeal will be allowed. The Board invites the parties’ written submissions about the appropriate form of order, including costs, within 21 days.
    Thanks to Liza Phillip for this information.
     
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