Tuesday, September 09, 2014

The PM Responds To Bolo's FB Post.

Dr. Kenny D Anthony
Augustin "Bolo" Charles
In a recent, very recent Facebook post Augustin Charles aka 'Bolo' followed a preamble on the FireMen's Strike with these two questions. (1) What is the rationale for a critical agency like the Fire Service not being categorised as an essential service? And why is there no clear legislative provision in that regard? Is this tantamount to legislative oversight or legislative negligence?
(2) Should the Attorney General (in her legal research) deem the Fire Service to be an essential service and a court were to rule accordingly, then what are the potential legislative ramifications? Will there be potential retroactive penalties for the striking firemen?
The PM, Dr. Kenny D. Anthony, took time off his busy schedule to respond. This is his brief take on the questions.
"May I join and offer some comments? I believe that the explanation to your first question is historical. Prior to our independence the Fire Service was part of the Police Service. Since Police Officers were prohibited from striking the question did not arise.
The Essential Services Act was introduced in very special circumstances which, at the time, may not have applied to the Fire Service, at least so it may have been thought. Neither the Attorney General nor the Court can deem the Fire Service an essential service, only Parliament can do so by amending the Essential Services Act"
Many persons including Diana Theodore, a contributor to Bolo's post were of the notion that the Fire Service is an Essential Service. Diana Theodore
wrote, "What ? When I first heard the fire Service were talking about going on
strike my initial reaction was, 'but they can't , they are an essential
service , don't they know that'. and unlike bigger countries they are the ambulance service as well . Also unlike bigger countries there is no army
to step in and you are telling me they are not categorised as an essential service ?
I have been occupied elsewhere the past few days and have not been able to follow the news......."
Like Bolo, she wishes that Claudius Francis would throw some more light on this issue. Claudius hosts a program "Straight up" on Helen Fm every Wednesday and Friday from 11:00 am.

Dedan C G Jn Baptiste

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