kl/court of appeal
Supreme Court Justice Neville Adderley exercised his discretion when he struck out a case by the Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Union(BCPOU)and the Bahamas Communications and Public Managers Union(BCPMU)against the government to stop the sale of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company and he should not be faulted, the Court of Appeal heard yesterday.
Last month, Justice Adderley ruled that the labor organizations did not have the legal capacity to sue the government.
Both unions were attempting to have the court stop the sale of BTC to Cable and Wireless Communications(CWC). They took their fight to the Court of Appeal in the hopes of having Justice Adderley’s ruling overturned.
Yesterday, Attorney Loren Klein, who represents the government in the hearing, contended that this is not a case in which the judge was plainly wrong.
He said there is no reason to disturb the judge’s decision.
Klein said the judge in his ruling took into consideration public debate, documents tabled in parliament and the legal standing of BTC.
The judge exercised his discretion in dealing with the preliminary points and”cannot be faulted, Klein said.
Klein’s arguments came one day after parliamentarians began debating the impending sale of a 51 percent share of BTC to Cable and Wireless. Recently, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said the government made the decision to sell the majority stake in BTC because no company would agree to buy the minority share for a reasonable price.
In previous arguments, attorney Maurice Glinton, who represents both unions, argued that the judge erred in his decision when he struck out the matter, not affording the labor organizations to present their case.
Glinton contended that Adderely erred in law and procedure. He said the judge’s decision was based on a mistaken interpretation of the Industrial Relations Act.
Glinton also stressed that the jobs of the employees may be in jeopardy.
But, Klein stressed yesterday that the legal relationship the union’s had with the corporation was terminated in 2004 and by the time the writ for the court case was issued in 2010″it was six years and two industrial agreements too late.”
“The umbilical chord was already cut,”he contended.”There was not attachment to the corporation.”