Nandlall rejects Harmon’s request for “contractual benefits”, reminds there is no contract

Attorney General Anil Nandlall and Senior Member of the APNU/AFC coalition

Senior Member of the APNU/AFC Joseph Harmon is challenging the government’s decision to terminate his contract as Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency – a post which was specially created just for him after he was forced to resign as Minister of State and a parliamentarian due to his dual citizenship status.

Harmon, who is the APNU General Secretary and a recently inducted member of the PNC/R Central Executive Committee, was on Thursday informed by the PPP/C government that his services are no longer required.

In a letter from Attorney General Anil Nandlall, Harmon was informed that: “…having regard to the nature of the job, which you were engaged to execute, and did in fact execute, it is no longer possible or practical for you to perform those tasks under the new Government.”

He was further reminded of the fact that he was relieved of his job as Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency sometime in April 2020, when he was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Coalition’s Covid-19 Task Force; thereby making his removal consensual and the termination of his contract mutual.

However, Harmon responded to Nandlall’s letter, indicating that he does not recognise his authority and will further pursue the new government’s attempt to deny him of his contractual benefits.

But Nandlall, in response, pointed out that “that you, the General Secretary of the [APNU], chose to describe the current government as fraudulent…is axiomatic evidence of the existence of the condition to which I have made reference above”.

Nandlall further outlined that “as regard your complaint of the denial of “contractual benefits”: sagacious counsel, once solicited, will hopefully persuade you that “contractual benefits” only devolve upon breach of a subsisting, valid, and enforceable contract. In your case…there is no longer such a contract. In consequence, your expectation is woefully misplaced.”

Harmon Response

The former Minister of State under the Coalition had to step down from his ministerial post and give up his parliamentary seat last year after the courts ruled that dual citizens cannot sit in the National Assembly.

He was subsequently appointed as Director General of MOTP with a salary of $900,000 and over $500,000 in nontaxable allowances as well as other perks and benefits.

That contract, which was signed on May 1, 2019, was for three years.

Moreover, Harmon applied for 42 days leave after the new PPP/C Government took office earlier this month.

As the new administration transitions into office, it has made it clear that there is no room for APNU/AFC political appointees. In fact, several such individuals who have been receiving super salaries have already been relieved of their duties.