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PSA fires warning shot against NCRHA

media watchdog?
Published: 
Thursday, November 25, 2010
A plain clothes government security officer showed up in the Parliament’s press box amidst media personnel yesterday. The man (in suit second from right) was confirmed as being part of the Prime Minister’s security detail by government officials. Security officers do not routinely occupy the press gallery with the media.

The Public Services Association (PSA) has delivered letters of pre-action protocol to the North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA) and the Government Public Service Commission. After delivering a letter to the NCRHA at its head offices at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, PSA president Watson Duke announced the “warning shot had been fired.” The letter, which were prepared by attorney Lionel Luckhoo, advised both parties to desist from initiating any action against staff members who employed Section 15 of the Occupational Health and Safety (OSH) Act that gave them the right to walk off the job if they felt their health or safety was at risk.

Duke said he had received reports that both the Director of Personnel Administration (DPA) Gloria Edwards-Joseph and management of the NCRHA had threatened employees with disciplinary action after they employed Section 15 with the PSA’s advice. In both letters Luckhoo advised: “I am now in the process of receiving instructions with a view to engaging senior counsel and would therefore ask that you hold your hand from initiating action against members of staff pending the receipt of legal advice.” The PSA charged the NCRHA with the inaccurate citing of Section 14 of the OSH Act; failure to address health and safety concerns reported by staff in neither a timely nor effective manner; and, the non-compliance with the OSH Act.

Note to self
Earlier this week Duke threatened legal action against the Public Service Commission and NCRHA. He said employees at both institutions had made numerous complaints to management regarding their insanitary working conditions and that neither institutions had set up a health and safety committee as mandated by the Act. Yesterday, Duke also visited the Ministry of Legal Affairs, South Quay, Port-of-Spain, and ordered employees of the building to vacate it.

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