Former Urban Development Commission Director George Edghill has been awarded nearly $1 million in damages by the Barbados High Court.
More than four years after having his five-year contract terminated by a then new Democratic Labour Party administration Edghill is to receive $809,744,43 plus six per cent interest per annum. At the time he had been in the post for just six months.
He also won costs certified fit for two attorneys in a decision delivered today in the High Court.
The court found that when the former National Housing Corporation Deputy General Manager was given his marching orders in February 2008 his dismissal was unjust.
The near $810,000 in exemplary and aggravated damages awarded to Edghill constituted the unexpired period of his fixed term five year contract when it was terminated. He was represented by Sir Richard Cheltenham, QC, in association with Alrick Scott, while the UDC was represented by the father and son team of former Attorney General Sir Maurice King, QC, and Adrian King.
When contacted by Barbados TODAY Edghill referred queries to Sir Richard, who deferred comment.
It was at a post-Cabinet briefing at Government Headquarters on February 6, 2008, when then Prime Minister David Thompson announced that with immediate effect Edghill would no longer hold the post of UDC Director over what Thompson had alleged was over the hiring of an “urban renewal advisor”.
“On January 17, the director of UDC, purportedly acting under the instructions of the Minister of Economic Affairs and Development, the Honourable Mia Mottley, sought just a day after the election, to appoint a deputy director. We will revoke that appointment and that person will return to their substantive position,” Thompson said at the time. In an immediate response, Edghill countered that he had done nothing wrong.
“If there is a new administration and they want to bring a new guard they are entitled to that. I have no quarrel. But to say that I acted erroneously by appointing a deputy director … that is wrong,” he said.
“What took place was that a deputy director post was established in September before I came, …it was applied for in June 2007, and it was approved in September 2007.
“It was advertised and there were 17 applications and it was short listed to seven and the board made a decision in recommending one of our employees of the commission that applied and who is an urban planner and was employed with the commission for seven years and was appointed by promotion to the post.”
He then filed a lawsuit against Government, alleging unjust termination of his employment, and the court has now ruled in his favour. (SC)