Army suspends the four soldiers who have sued the Chief-of-Staff for withholding their bonuses – 13th Mar 2013
The four officers that challenged the Chief-of Staff, Commodore Gary Best in the court over his alleged refusal to pay them their one month bonus, were given Marching Orders today as the story took another twist. The officers who have filed the action against the Chief-of-Staff are Major Leslie Ramlall, Captain Rono Joseph, Captain Lancelot Fraser and Lieutenant (Coast Guard) Andre Cush.
The decision to relieve the officers of their duties was taken by the Defence Board, which has as its Chairman, the Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon.
The officers want the High Court to quash the Chief-of Staff’s decision to withhold the payment of their bonuses and to therefore compel Commodore Gary Best to pay them without hesitation.
According to a statement issued by the GDF, the officers were suspended from duty given the serious nature of the matters, its implications, and the avoidance of any conflict of interest which may arise.
The GDF said that while away from their jobs, the soldiers will still benefit from any leave or monies they are entitled to.
The decision, according to the Defence Force, also makes way for the officers to pursue their legal matters.
The matter comes up before Chief Justice Ian Chang on March 19, when the Chief-of-Staff is expected to defend his decision and to explain to the court why he should not be forced to make the payments.
Just before Christmas, the Commander-in-Chief, President Donald Ramotar granted all soldiers a bonus equal to one month’s salary.
The soldiers who are suing the Chief-of-Staff say his decision to withhold the bonus granted by the Commander-in-Chief was unlawful.
The soldiers also claim that they are not aware that the Commander-in-Chief did not lay down any criteria for the granting of the bonuses.
The Chief-of-Staff however, decided that some of the soldiers were not deserving of the bonus and so he took it upon himself not to pay.