Court rules in favor of Deanroy Bernard

1 year ago

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The Supreme Court has ordered the re-instatement of Deanroy Bernard as a Permanent Secretary.

Mr. Bernard, who was removed from his post as Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Education Ministry in 2019, had brought the matter to Court to which the law has ruled in his favor.

Mr Bernard was transferred from the Ministry in February 2019 to the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service as Director General. Dr Grace McLean, who was the Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education, was promoted to PS. 

While the matter was being contested in court for a long while, Mr. Bernard has been occupying the post of Director General in the Ministry of Finance.

According to court documents, Mr. Bernard was informed by way of letter from the Office of the Services Commission dated March 1, 2019, that his reassignment was being done on the recommendation of Prime Minister Andrew Holness and in keeping with Section 126(3) of the Constitution of Jamaica. 

The reassignment was to take effect from February 14, 2019, but the salary and allowances would remain unchanged. 

In that regard, Mr Bernard responded with a claim against the Services Commission and the Attorney General, seeking leave for a judicial review as well as a stay of execution of the reassignment, a declaration of the move as unconstitutional and null, and a mandate to reverse the directive. 

Among Mr Bernard’s grounds for the claim; the Prime Minister had no authority to recommend reassignment and that the commission had a duty to review the Prime Minister’s recommendation and that neither the Constitution nor the Staff Orders contemplated the forcible removal of a PS to a lower or other position in the public service. 

Mr Bernard also contended that the Director General is not in a position on the establishment of the Ministry of Finance and that the reassignment was done without reason and amounted to a demotion.