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MDC in Labour Court

MDC housed in lt top fl building in E Karney Osborne building (SoSec owned)

MDC occupied top left half of E Karney Osborne building – still occupied by staff

Former MDC Directors with Wrongful Dismissal complaint

Former directors of Trade and Investment Ayiesha de Coteau-Sammy and Tourism Director Anita Nightingale have challenged their ‘termination’ from the Montserrat Development Corporation (MDC) as we have suspected might be the case earlier.

According to the release issued when it was finally decided to shut down the MDC the Premier announced that, “this Government is committed to taking care of the staff…”

The MDC was supposed to have wound up “within six to eight weeks”, according to the Premier, from April 2, 2015, taking that to the end of May. Up to one month ago there was confusion among top officials whether the corporation had been wound up, but while staff still occupying its quarters answer the telephone, “MDC” it is said that it no longer exists.

In the release from Premier Romeo, MDC being owned by Government, the Premier stated, “The Government has therefore decided to close the MDC. The decision to close has implications for those who work in MDC, and this Government is committed to taking care of the staff, as far as possible.

“This means that all staff will have to be retrenched but will be paid gratuity in accordance with the terms of their contracts. In the interim, essential ongoing programmes will be maintained within the Government of Montserrat.”

Other than two senior officers in the Infrastructure division, the two directors who since took action as above, and one other junior staff all non-nationals received termination letters signed by Attorney-at-law David Brandt which said: “…The Chief Executive Officer has decided to determine your contract with effect from the 30th April 2015 in accordance with the above clause…”Ayeisha Sammy - MDC

That Clause said – “…after consultation with the Board of Directors, the Chief Executive Officer may at any time determine the engagement of the person engaged on giving  her one month’s notice in writing or paying her one month’s notice in lieu of service…”

However, with the exception of the Infrastructure Director Sean McLaughlin who had previously taken issue with the MDC and DFID, all other staff as mentioned received continued or new employment in Government offices and even remained on site at the MDC’s offices. According to reports had long before had claimed for ‘Constructive Dismissal’.

Just over a month ago there was confusion as to whether the MDC had in fact been wound up but it is apparent that no activities are being conducted under the auspices of the corporation.

The two directors took issue with their termination as they claimed that their dismissal was not done in accordance with the island’s Labour Code and did not meet the minimum requirements of the Code, which required the termination letter to include such things as the reason for the termination (dismissal, firing. determination etc.).

The two former directors of the Montserrat Development Corporation (MDC) were on island this week appearing before a labour tribunal with their legal representation in relation to their dismissal from the company.

According to the Labour Code where an employee files a complaint of unfair dismissal, section 67 requires: “Where an employee claims to be unfairly dismissed, the employer has to prove that it was reasonable for him to dismiss the employee and that the procedures set out in the Code were duly observed.”

Attorney David Brandt was faced with what appears an uphill battle when his letter of termination on behalf of the MDC did not state specifics as required by the Labour Code.

While the letter stated that the termination was according to the contract, the Labour Code states specific conditions to be adhered to by the company and if being liquidated etc. In instances, the termination should be accompanied by a statement called ‘Certificate of employment’. That statement requires according to the Code – “Nothing adverse to the employee shall be expressed in any certificate given in compliance with subsection (1)…”

The matter was adjourned to be continued in mid-November.

The tribunal consists of two of several members appointed by the Governor with the magistrate usually sitting as the chairman and who serves to guide the members as to the law.

MDC terminate letter pg1 MDC terminate letter pg2

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

MDC housed in lt top fl building in E Karney Osborne building (SoSec owned)

MDC occupied top left half of E Karney Osborne building – still occupied by staff

Former MDC Directors with Wrongful Dismissal complaint

Former directors of Trade and Investment Ayiesha de Coteau-Sammy and Tourism Director Anita Nightingale have challenged their ‘termination’ from the Montserrat Development Corporation (MDC) as we have suspected might be the case earlier.

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According to the release issued when it was finally decided to shut down the MDC the Premier announced that, “this Government is committed to taking care of the staff…”

The MDC was supposed to have wound up “within six to eight weeks”, according to the Premier, from April 2, 2015, taking that to the end of May. Up to one month ago there was confusion among top officials whether the corporation had been wound up, but while staff still occupying its quarters answer the telephone, “MDC” it is said that it no longer exists.

In the release from Premier Romeo, MDC being owned by Government, the Premier stated, “The Government has therefore decided to close the MDC. The decision to close has implications for those who work in MDC, and this Government is committed to taking care of the staff, as far as possible.

“This means that all staff will have to be retrenched but will be paid gratuity in accordance with the terms of their contracts. In the interim, essential ongoing programmes will be maintained within the Government of Montserrat.”

Other than two senior officers in the Infrastructure division, the two directors who since took action as above, and one other junior staff all non-nationals received termination letters signed by Attorney-at-law David Brandt which said: “…The Chief Executive Officer has decided to determine your contract with effect from the 30th April 2015 in accordance with the above clause…”Ayeisha Sammy - MDC

That Clause said – “…after consultation with the Board of Directors, the Chief Executive Officer may at any time determine the engagement of the person engaged on giving  her one month’s notice in writing or paying her one month’s notice in lieu of service…”

However, with the exception of the Infrastructure Director Sean McLaughlin who had previously taken issue with the MDC and DFID, all other staff as mentioned received continued or new employment in Government offices and even remained on site at the MDC’s offices. According to reports had long before had claimed for ‘Constructive Dismissal’.

Just over a month ago there was confusion as to whether the MDC had in fact been wound up but it is apparent that no activities are being conducted under the auspices of the corporation.

The two directors took issue with their termination as they claimed that their dismissal was not done in accordance with the island’s Labour Code and did not meet the minimum requirements of the Code, which required the termination letter to include such things as the reason for the termination (dismissal, firing. determination etc.).

The two former directors of the Montserrat Development Corporation (MDC) were on island this week appearing before a labour tribunal with their legal representation in relation to their dismissal from the company.

According to the Labour Code where an employee files a complaint of unfair dismissal, section 67 requires: “Where an employee claims to be unfairly dismissed, the employer has to prove that it was reasonable for him to dismiss the employee and that the procedures set out in the Code were duly observed.”

Attorney David Brandt was faced with what appears an uphill battle when his letter of termination on behalf of the MDC did not state specifics as required by the Labour Code.

While the letter stated that the termination was according to the contract, the Labour Code states specific conditions to be adhered to by the company and if being liquidated etc. In instances, the termination should be accompanied by a statement called ‘Certificate of employment’. That statement requires according to the Code – “Nothing adverse to the employee shall be expressed in any certificate given in compliance with subsection (1)…”

The matter was adjourned to be continued in mid-November.

The tribunal consists of two of several members appointed by the Governor with the magistrate usually sitting as the chairman and who serves to guide the members as to the law.

MDC terminate letter pg1 MDC terminate letter pg2