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Court grants permission to sue Deputy Governor

Deputy Governor Jim Taylor at swearing-in

Deputy Governor Jim Taylor at swearing-in

by Staff Reporter

The High Court of Montserrat has granted leave to Mr. Thomas Buffonge to file Judicial review against the Deputy Governor. The Application for leave is the first step in the process of seeking relief from the High Court in matters of Administrative law.  This process is a filtering one where the court ensures that frivolous and vexatious matters do not waste the court’s time.

Mr. Buffonge who is now 70 years, sought leave to file Judicial Review proceedings seeking several reliefs including:

(i)                A declaration that he is entitled to be paid a pension in accordance with the Pensions Act; and

(ii)              An Order of mandamus requiring the Deputy Governor to pay according to law the Applicant’s past and current pension with interest upon past payments at the rate of 10% per annum or such rate as the honourable court shall consider fit and proper.

In addition, Mr. Buffonge asked the court in the meanwhile to order that he is paid a lump sum of $50,000.00 on account of the pension entitlement or alternatively that the Respondents commence payments of his current pension entitlement.

Mr. Buffonge, worked in the various departments of government from 1964 and ended up as Manager of Montserrat Industrial Enterprises (MEIL).  There were also many years of agreed unpaid study leave from 1980.  He was seeking pension payments that he says were long overdue.

In deciding whether to grant leave, Redhead J. examined several correspondences between Mr. Buffonge and the Permanent Secretary Administration as well as between Mr. Buffonge and the Attorney-General.  In defense of the action Cilma Wade argued that Mr. Buffonge had a right to sue since 21st September 2000 i.e thirteen years ago and therefore should be barred from pursuing the action because of delay.  Representing Mr. Buffonge, Carrot argued that the cause of action did not arise until June 2013 when his client received the letter from the Attorney General.

In a written Judgment by Justice Albert Redhead noted:

There is no documentary evidence to show that the Applicant’s employment was terminated. The Applicant’s file is missing; this complicates the issues in this case. The Applicant’s file was in the custody of the Government of Montserrat as it should have been but I am told it cannot be found. Moreover, Mrs. Theodora Veronica Walker, a retired Civil Servant who was assistant to the Permanent Secretary of Administration during the relevant time the Applicant was employed in the Civil Service of Montserrat, in an affidavit (paragraph 5) swore that she is not aware the Applicant’s employment had been terminated.

The learned Judge in granting leave stated:

My task at this stage is to make a determination whether the Applicant has an arguable case. On the materials and submissions placed before me I have no doubt that the Applicant has a strong arguable case. His application as I have said above is not defeated by delay.

Leave is therefore granted to the Applicant to make a Claim for Judicial Review to be filed within 14 days of today’s date. I shall not grant the interim reliefs and orders sought by the Applicant.

The next step will be to file the actual claim seeking the reliefs.

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Deputy Governor Jim Taylor at swearing-in

Deputy Governor Jim Taylor at swearing-in

by Staff Reporter

The High Court of Montserrat has granted leave to Mr. Thomas Buffonge to file Judicial review against the Deputy Governor. The Application for leave is the first step in the process of seeking relief from the High Court in matters of Administrative law.  This process is a filtering one where the court ensures that frivolous and vexatious matters do not waste the court’s time.

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Mr. Buffonge who is now 70 years, sought leave to file Judicial Review proceedings seeking several reliefs including:

(i)                A declaration that he is entitled to be paid a pension in accordance with the Pensions Act; and

(ii)              An Order of mandamus requiring the Deputy Governor to pay according to law the Applicant’s past and current pension with interest upon past payments at the rate of 10% per annum or such rate as the honourable court shall consider fit and proper.

In addition, Mr. Buffonge asked the court in the meanwhile to order that he is paid a lump sum of $50,000.00 on account of the pension entitlement or alternatively that the Respondents commence payments of his current pension entitlement.

Mr. Buffonge, worked in the various departments of government from 1964 and ended up as Manager of Montserrat Industrial Enterprises (MEIL).  There were also many years of agreed unpaid study leave from 1980.  He was seeking pension payments that he says were long overdue.

In deciding whether to grant leave, Redhead J. examined several correspondences between Mr. Buffonge and the Permanent Secretary Administration as well as between Mr. Buffonge and the Attorney-General.  In defense of the action Cilma Wade argued that Mr. Buffonge had a right to sue since 21st September 2000 i.e thirteen years ago and therefore should be barred from pursuing the action because of delay.  Representing Mr. Buffonge, Carrot argued that the cause of action did not arise until June 2013 when his client received the letter from the Attorney General.

In a written Judgment by Justice Albert Redhead noted:

There is no documentary evidence to show that the Applicant’s employment was terminated. The Applicant’s file is missing; this complicates the issues in this case. The Applicant’s file was in the custody of the Government of Montserrat as it should have been but I am told it cannot be found. Moreover, Mrs. Theodora Veronica Walker, a retired Civil Servant who was assistant to the Permanent Secretary of Administration during the relevant time the Applicant was employed in the Civil Service of Montserrat, in an affidavit (paragraph 5) swore that she is not aware the Applicant’s employment had been terminated.

The learned Judge in granting leave stated:

My task at this stage is to make a determination whether the Applicant has an arguable case. On the materials and submissions placed before me I have no doubt that the Applicant has a strong arguable case. His application as I have said above is not defeated by delay.

Leave is therefore granted to the Applicant to make a Claim for Judicial Review to be filed within 14 days of today’s date. I shall not grant the interim reliefs and orders sought by the Applicant.

The next step will be to file the actual claim seeking the reliefs.