Govt ordered to pay $25M to former Guyana High Commissioner to Canada

first_imgUnfair dismissalThe Government, through Attorney General Basil Williams, has been ordered by the High Court to pay former Guyana High Commissioner to Canada, Harry Narine Nawbatt, some $25 million in court costs.Former Guyana High Commissioner to Canada Harry Narine NawbattNawbatt’s appointment to that post commenced under the then People’s Progressive Party/Civic Government on February 9, 2015, three months before the May 2015 General and Regional Elections. However, less than one month after being in office, the new A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) Coalition Administration dismissed him.The ruling on the statement of claim proceedings was handed down by Justice Diana Insanally on Monday.Nawbatt, through his attorneys Anil Nandlall, Manoj Narayan and Rajendra Jaigobin, sued the Attorney General in April 2016, claiming that his contract of employment was not lawfully terminated, thus he was seeking salaries, emoluments and other benefits owed to him.Following the trial, Justice Insanally granted judgment to Nawbatt in the sum of $24,295,104 for “special damages”. She also awarded $500,000 for breach of contract, and court costs in the sum of $50,000. Additionally, the court ordered that interest on the said sums be paid at the rate of 6 percent per annum from the date of filing to the date of judgment, and thereafter at the rate of 4 per cent per annum until fully paid.Nawbatt, in his legal suit, was seeking over $49 million for wrongful dismissal and a breach of contract. He stated that his firing was enshrined in a letter dated June 8, 2015 when the Director General (ag) of the Foreign Affairs Ministry wrongfully, and “in repudiatory breach” of the above-mentioned contract, purported to terminate his employment, and therefore wrongfully dismissed him.This letter had stated that his appointment would end on August 31st, 2015 and that he should report to Georgetown.The former ambassador had requested damages in excess of $25 million for breach of contract and “special” damage in the sum of $24,295,104, the latter of which was awarded.Nawbatt, in documents, had said he was tasked with performing the functions and duties of High Commissioner to Canada, and was being paid a monthly salary of $773,801. His contract would have expired on February 9 of 2016. According to the contract inked, the cost of education for Nawbatt’s children would have been paid by the Government, and he was also entitled to this and other allowances.Nawbatt would have been allowed to terminate his services, provided that a written notice of three months was given. Likewise the Government would have had to give notice for the same time frame, or pay Nawbatt six months’ salary and station allowance if such notice was not given. According to Nawbatt, he was owed $4.3 million for salary up to February 2016; $5.7million in gratuity; payment of $4 million for 158 days’ leave; $4.8 million in station allowance; $4.6 million in station allowance for leave for five months, and $2million in business class return air passages, among other things.Nawbatt had once served as a Government Minister under the PPP/C Administration. In a statement to the press on Monday, Anil Nandlall outlined that his legal team has filed many similar cases in 2015 and 2016. He, however, claimed that in all the cases, the plaintiffs sued for damages for wrongful dismissal or unlawful termination of their contracts of employment, and were awarded various sums as compensation, along with interest and costs.He said that while the Attorney General was the defendant in all of these cases, and no appeal was filed against any of the decisions, the Attorney General has “consistently refused to honour these judgments, although we have made repeated written requests for him to do so”.Nandlall concluded that “the relevant proceedings will be commenced shortly to commit the Minister of Finance to prison for non-payment of these judgments”.last_img read more