Staff at the Supreme Court of Barbados who do not wish to work at the problem-plagued Whitepark Road complex now have the option of being reassigned to the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Attorney General’s Office.
General Secretary of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) Roslyn Smith revealed today that the decision was taken yesterday during a meeting between court officials and Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite.
“A decision was taken where the staff who do not wish to remain in this building for health reasons would go to human resources and indicate that and they will be deployed within the ministry of the Attorney General until the [neighbouring] CLICO building is cleaned,” Smith explained.
The announcement comes two days after the NUPW advised its members not to re-enter the building, which has been plagued by environmental challenges believed to be the reason several workers had been coming down with sore throat and other ailments.
However, during a press conference last Friday Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson had issued a completely different assessment to the workers of the situation in the building while informing them that remedial work was ongoing in a bid to resolve the issues, after staffers downed tools on April 11, due to the worrying conditions of work.
When Barbados TODAY visited the island’s main judicial complex today there was little activity taking place. However, at least one courtroom – the No.5 Supreme Court – was operational for a few hours with Pamela Beckles sitting as the presiding judge.
“There are some persons who we are told indicated that they would work until the CLICO building is ready, but to me that is a conflict since the files need to be cleaned too. So if you are working on the files, on the vault and those types of things obviously you are pushing back [the move] to the CLICO building,” said Smith, who was accompanied by Deputy General Secretary Delcia Burke and shop steward Bernadette Williams for an afternoon meeting with staff in the records and accounts sections of the court.