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No conflict, says Byer-Suckoo

Minister of Labour Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo is assuring there is no conflict of interest at the helm of the Employment Rights Tribunal and thus no need for any new set of regulations to start hearing the case of retrenched National Conservation Commission (NCC) workers.

Addressing concerns that chairperson of the nine-member body, attorney-at-law Tracea Codrington, is the daughter and legal partner of Mitchell Codrington who is the industrial relations consultant to the NCC in the impasse, the minister suggested that did not have to be a stumbling block.

Although not saying that Codrington should recuse herself from the upcoming proceedings, Byer-Suckoo told Barbados TODAY that there were two other attorneys on the panel who could act as chairperson.

She added: “I cannot direct who should or should not chair a meeting. That is not the mandate of the Government.”

“Concerns have been raised about former Chief Labour Officer Mitchell Codrington being retained as the industrial relations consultant for the NCC, but my understanding is that he was not a part of the selection process for workers who were earmarked for retrenchment. He was engaged to be part of the negotiation team,” the minister added.

While the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) president Walter Maloney has declined to comment on the matter and the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) assistant general secretary Dwaine Paul said he does not envision any conflict of interest arising, general secretary of the Unity Workers  Union, Caswell Franklyn, insists Codrington should recuse herself “because her legal partner is a consultant for the NCC”.

Byer-Suckoo also responded to charges by Opposition Leader Mia Mottley that the act calls for regulations to be put in place before the tribunal can carry out its functions.

“The Employment Rights Act states at Section 6 (3) that the tribunal shall regulate its own procedure and may make rules for that purpose,” the minister said.

The BWU and NUPW are waiting for a date for the tribunal to hear their case. They are contesting the NCC’s retrenchment list, insisting that the last in, first out principle was not used.

Byer-Suckoo said she could give no indication when proceedings would begin.

“I cannot give any time frame for the hearing. It is not in the purview of the Government to actually make dictates on the tribunal,” he said.

“However, in referring the matter to the tribunal, it would have been suggested that this case should be considered as an urgent matter. The hearing takes place in much the same way that the court can be asked to treat a matter as urgent with a certificate of urgency. The Government has not sought such a certificate.”


5 Responses to No conflict, says Byer-Suckoo

  1. Tony Webster May 28, 2014 at 6:03 am

    It just keeps getting better’n’better!!

    IF and when it’s all over, I’d like to see the complete “balance-sheet”, as when one nationally accounts for how much collective time; energy; effort; stress; worker-angst; direct and indirect costs; and the opportunity costs of all the collective Bajan brain-power that has been “invested” in this matter; when all costs have been totalled and weighed against what alternative use might have produced in tangible national endeavours, and to real national benefit…we might just have restored our credit-ratings to AA+….and got the current account back into black.

    Do we have any idea of how to optimally use our time and efforts; setting priorities; and briskly dealing with the business-at-hand?? Posturing and ego-massage for the media DOES have a value…but scant NATIONAL value. Better can, and must, be done.
    Please: the children (literally and figuratively)…are watching and listening.

  2. Prince Nick
    Prince Nick May 28, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    yes conflict

  3. Cheryl A Rollins
    Cheryl A Rollins May 28, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Clearly Business Administration is not her field! smh. I need to do this for her.

  4. Donita Callender
    Donita Callender May 28, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Rubbish! the question is that: “Not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done.” Recusals happen every day for this very reason. Are these people really proffering this argument? The verdict is in – the workers do need representation

  5. Wizzie Sealy-inniss
    Wizzie Sealy-inniss May 28, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    when you start wrong you will end wrong, that has been happening for the longest time by the powers that be, enough is enough. I think that Bajans has stop Politicians from bullying them, and I mean from both sides. We must order them to put things in place to protect us like them doing to protect themselves. for example they can qualify in 10 years for pension and received it at age 55 while we have to put in triple the years they put in and then can only be pensionable at age 65 and they want to push it up to 70. Bajan judge for yourselves and see who the Politicians really care about. not us for sure.


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