Jamaica’s Supreme Court has ruled in favour of the Police Federation in their lawsuit against the government for outstanding monies reportedly dating back to 2008.
The landmark declaration was issued by the full Court of Justices David Batts, Cresencia Brown Beckford and Tara Carr this morning when the matter came up for mention in the Constitutional Court.
The government now has until March 2023 to put in place a new mechanism for documenting hours worked by Jamaica Constabulary Force, JCF members.
While the Supreme Court has granted some of the declarations sought by the Police Federation, the judgement handed down this morning does not impose any obligation on the government to pay additional monies to JCF members. The court also rejected the Federation’s claims for damages.
Ricardo Brooks reports.
In 2019, the Police Federation filed suit against the Ministries of National Security and Finance alleging a breach of the signed Heads of Agreement.
The federation alleged in the lawsuit that its members were working in excess of 40 hours per week, without being paid.
The sum reportedly amounts to millions of dollars in overtime wages.
Today, the Constitutional Court sided with the Federation.
In handing down the ruling, Justice Batts says the Heads of Agreement is legally binding on the government.
In recognition of the high public interest in the matter, the Supreme Court live streamed the judgement being handed down.
Justice Batts ruled that the Police Federation has a legitimate right to expect that their members would’ve been paid in keeping with the Heads of Agreement.
The Constitutional Court further ruled that a mechanism must be put in place by next year to capture the excess hours of work undertaken by the rank and file members of the constabulary.
The hearing into claims of unpaid overtime monies to rank and file members of the JCF was held over two days, from April 4 to 5 this year.
It’s being hailed as a significant victory for the Corporal Rohan James Police Federation.