I write in response to Mr. Bharat Kissoon’s letter captioned “Had Ms. Taylor absented herself without permission?” (07.11.03) and use this opportunity to point out that Mr. Kissoon seemed to have missed or ignored the first sentence in paragraph 3 of my letter which stated “This matter had its genesis in the dismissal of Ms. Taylor by the company effective August 7, 2006.”
Anyone reading that sentence would have concluded that during the period of Ms. Taylor’s absence from Guyana i.e. November 2006 and April 2007 she was already dismissed by the Company, CAB’s Hardware and that her absence from Guyana was not a reason for her dismissal. In a situation where Mr. Kissoon had genuinely overlooked that sentence he can be forgiven for assuming otherwise.
I would like also to reiterate the following points: (1) In my opinion Ms. Taylor’s employers should have been afforded the opportunity to prove in court that they acted under the law and be exposed and punished if they did not.
(2) The government must not allow its laws to be flouted, as appears from this complaint. If the Ministry does not bring the case back to court it must pay Ms. Taylor what is due to her under the statutes.
(3) The Rule of Law must also protect workers, and unions should not stand idly by in the circumstances of Ms. Taylor’s complaints. Ms. Taylor’s case has the potential for righting a number of wrongs that employees are faced with in Guyana.
If her case is proven it will certainly allow other employees who feel that they have been similarly treated by the company to seek redress in court.
Finally, if I assume correctly that Mr. Kissoon is the retired Industrial Relations advisor of the Ministry of Labour and of several employers, I would like to hope that his views, opinions and advice on employer/employee matters took into consideration all of the relevant facts. Can it be assumed that the reason why the employer he referred to ignored his advice was because she, on hindsight felt that in her situation, there were factors he had overlooked or refused to consider, which the court would have not? The employer’s fear of facing the wrath of the court could well have been her real reason for paying her former employee in spite of Mr. Kissoon’s “expert advice.”