Opposition MP urges Kangaloo to give rationale behind non-renewal of Thomas-Felix

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Opposition MP urges Kangaloo to give rationale behind non-renewal of Thomas-Felix

Couva South MP and Opposition shadow minister for labour, Rudy Indarisingh, is urging President Christine Kangaloo, to clarify the circumstances and rationale behind the non-renewal of the contract of the former President of the Industrial Court, Mrs Deborah Thomas-Felix.

In a release, he said the national community has been rife with speculation, concern, conspiracy theories and major uncertainty regarding the removal of the former President of the Court.

“This uncertainty threatens to undermine confidence in the Court as a key player in the labour relations process, as well as undermine the decision-making process undertaken by Her Excellency in the non-renewal of Mrs Thomas-Felix’s contract,” he said.

“Lamentably, many persons have reminded me of the instance in which Her Excellency served for a short period as acting President, and used that short period to dismiss the former Governor of the Central Bank, Jwala Rambaran. One would recall that Mr Rambaran took the Minister of Finance to court over his dismissal and won.”

Indarsingh said unions and other stakeholders in the labour fraternity have expressed wonder over whether the non-renewal of Mrs Thomas-Felix’s contract is related to any briefs currently held by Her Excellency’s husband, First Gentleman and attorney Kerwin Garcia, SC who represents clients actively at the Industrial Court.

“Other stakeholders have expressed curiosity as to whether the former Industrial Court President’s non-renewal was provoked by current Attorney General Reginald Armour, whose wife Elizabeth Solomon was then employed as a judge at the Court while Mrs Thomas-Felix was President and with whom it is speculated Mrs Thomas-Felix had issues over inadequate performance,: he noted.

Indarsingh pointed out that some concerns have even been raised as to whether Mrs Thomas-Felix is paying the professional price for her condemnation of the current PNM administration over the PNM’s attempt to decertify the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA) and the Trinidad and Tobago Airline Pilots’ Association (TTALPA).

“One would also recollect the stand that Mrs Thomas-Felix took against the Rowley administration as it related to their illegal thrust towards mandatory vaccinations in the public sector during Covid-19 pandemic. At the time, Mrs Thomas-Felix stood on the side of the law to insist that, contrary to Prime Minister Rowley’s threats, such vaccinations could not have been made mandatory.
Persons also reminded the Opposition of statements made by the owners and directors of “big business” in Trinidad and Tobago, in which at least one businessman expressed annoyance that the Industrial Court was, in his view, responsible for decreasing levels of productivity in the country. One may recall that Mrs Thomas-Felix, as President of the Court even summoned two leading businessmen to the court for what she determined was their “contempt of court”. Was the non-renewal of her contract the result of the fancies of “big business”?

Indarsingh said: “It is in the face of all of these speculative scenarios that Her Excellency ought to be transparent with the nation over the considerations which influenced her decision, so that she can avoid the erosion of her integrity and that of the Industrial Court. The Industrial Court is a key player in the balance between the rich and the poor, the owners and the workers, the haves and the have-nots, and the integrity of this Court cannot be compromised or seen as such.