Chairman of the Public Service Commission (PSC) Carville Duncan will be moving to the High Court to challenge the authority of a tribunal which will determine whether he should be removed from the post as the hearing continues at the Ministry of the Presidency behind closed doors.
On Monday, Duncan and his lawyer, Anil Nandlall, were seen exiting the tribunal at the Training Centre of the Ministry, although it was still in session. Nandlall said his client has excused himself from the hearing since his application for the hearing to cease was overruled. He disclosed that he stated to the Commission that his client will not be participating any longer in the hearing.
He indicated that Duncan will move to the High Court later in the week on three grounds—the same grounds which were ruled against in the tribunal.
He asserted that the grounds are: there are criminal proceedings pending in the Magistrates’ Courts; Duncan never received a letter from Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo calling on him to show cause why the tribunal should not be established; and that his client has been called before the tribunal whose Chairman is a sitting High Court Judge—of whom Duncan exercises supervisory jurisdiction.
According to Article 144 of the Constitution, Nandlall explained that Duncan is entitled to a presumption of innocence, thus to establish a tribunal to investigate his removal from office on the mere institution of a charge before the determination of any guilt, is an infraction of that constitutional protection “which guarantees him innocent until proven guilty”.
He evaluated that the tribunal is “premature and an infraction and violation of that constitutional protection.”
Minister of State Joseph Harmon said the tribunal was set up to inquire, investigate and recommend whether Duncan ought to be removed from office for inability to perform the functions of the office, after he refused to gracefully vacate the office.
When Nandlall was questioned as to if his client was in fact offered an incentive by the President and the Minister of State to resign, he simply said he believed his client. “Well it is their word against Mr Duncan’s words and I believe my client, I could tell you that,” he said.
Harmon has since rejected claims that the Government offered money in exchange for his resignation as Chairperson of the PSC in light of his court charges.