Monday, August 8, 2022
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Open letter to the Ombudsman

“I continue paying taxes though I am refused the services I pay for”

This correspondence serves as yet another official reminder to the Ombudsman with the expectation the Ombudsman will ensure the Permanent Secretary (PS) and Minister of Labour be reminded of the fact they are both bounded functionally by the Employment Act of Grenada. 

It is disgustingly mortifying, given the assumed knowledge of Peter David, a member of the Grenada Bar, to constantly neglect his duty to honor section 82(4) of the aforementioned act. It is also chaotically insulting to taxpayers to have someone with such limited knowledge to be awarded such a crucial role as PS in the said Ministry. As a taxpaying and law-abiding citizen, I expect persons such as the Minister and PS, who are given the privilege of being financed with our tax dollars, to abandon juvenile and political squabble whilst on duty in our public offices. As any other taxpayer, I expect them to provide the services for which we pay. Nonetheless, given the political climate in Grenada, lawlessness, blatant misconduct and dereliction of duty continue to be evident. 

In January 2016, I was unfairly dismissed from my job as I executed my role as shop steward to the best of my ability. Thereafter, within three months as prescribed by the Employment Act of Grenada, I filed a complaint with the Ministry of Labour. Like many Grenadians, my legitimate complaint was ignored. After utilizing as many avenues as possible, in or around mid-2017, the Labour Commissioner (LC), Cyrus Griffith, in my reasonable thinking opinion, recognized he had no choice but to do his job as I had exhibited much determination; un-wavered by his ignorance unlike his many victims. As I had informed you, after a lengthy battle, I had eventually been assured by the LC that he had fulfilled his legal commitment which was to hand over my unsettled labour case to the Minister of Labour.

As you are aware, from mid-2016 to March 2018, [Hon] Oliver Joseph refused to do his job as Minister of Labour. In our only brief meeting he informed me as to how privileged I should feel to sit with him in his public office at the Ministry by stating, “yuh lucky I’m seeing yuh, cuz I doh normally see people.” Although your office, on many occasions informed him of his duty he continuously refused. After the 2018 Election, he was then replaced by Peter David who even today continues the same trait; as you have informed me on numerous occasions you have reminded Mr David of his duty but he continues to act contrary. As I have also informed you, I engaged Mr David on a live call-in program, instead of subjecting himself to moral principle; stating he would try to correct his wrong doing, he stated “you and I both know why your labour case is stalled…” he then falsely added that I had “already seen Ministers of Labour before him” which was clearly a very desperate act to deceive the viewing and listening public.
One morning, after being ignored by Mr David for a little over a year, I received a call from his Foreign Affairs secretary. The secretary informed me of an appointment which was scheduled for me to see Mr David in his capacity as Minister of Labour; as I had many times requested 82(4) of the Employment Act be applied. The day before the long-awaited appointment, I witnessed a conference which placed Mr David outside of Grenada. As a result, I called to confirm the scheduled appointment set by the Minister. It was only then I was told the meeting was postponed for a couple days as the Minister had left the country.

On the Morning of the second scheduled meeting I was told by the Minister’s ill-mannered secretary, the second scheduled meeting organized by the Minister’s office was cancelled with no set date for next appointment as the Human Resource Officer of the company was on sick leave. As you are also aware months had passed whilst Minister David had continued his delinquent behavior ignoring the recommendations and please from the Ombudsman’s office. As I had informed you, I had contacted the Cabinet Secretary, Beryl Isaac. She had eventually confirmed that she had also spoken to Mr David and that she was in high hopes that he would “do the right thing”. Months later, sometime in January 2020, almost two years after Mr David unfortunately took office, I received a random call from his secretary at 9:01am stating Minister David would like to see me at 10am that very morning. I am sure I do not have to again elaborate as to how unprofessional and unprincipled such an expectation was. I informed his secretary that he would obviously have to give adequate time as notice. To date, months later, I have heard nothing from either Public Servant.
I find it incredible that I continue paying taxes though I am refused the services I pay for. I also find it incredible that the Ombudsman’s office can only write Peter and the PS without awarding them any repercussions each time they act with non-conformity of law; this explains their lack of respect for the Ombudsman’s office; I have many times advised this disrespect for the office be brought to the attention of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. I wish to remind the Ombudsman that I have raised this matter with the Public Service Commission (PSC) where I was advised to seek asylum by one PSC official. It is my hope that I will not have to continue engaging the Ombudsman’s office for a fifth year on nor should I have to seemingly motivate the Ombudsman’s office to complete this same matter. One would think a simple labour issue would have been solved by the capable hands of the Ombudsman and or Ministry of Labour; four years and nine months have already elapsed. Your office is responsible for ensuring the complaints are dealt with. It is my hope that I would not have to exercise my justifiable right to a series of appropriate behaviors beginning with civil disobedience in the very near future. 

Earl J Maitland, Taxpayer

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