CCJ dismisses teachers’ appeal

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Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015. Aaron Humes Reporting: The Caribbean Court of Justice has dismissed the appeals of Corozal school administrators Juanita Lucas and Celia Carrillo, formerly the principal and vice principal of Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico in San Roman, Corozal District. breaking_1-300x168

Both women were suspended from their duties in 2008 following a visit by a special Ministry of Education team led by then-Chief Education Officer Maud Hyde to ascertain problems existing at the school. The Supreme Court and Court of Appeal ruled in favor of both but they did not get a ruling on their right to continue working, as they sit at home being paid regular salary only and no increments.

The Court of Appeal ruled against them on this aspect of the case, saying their rights under the Constitution were not infringed. The CCJ upheld that ruling today, saying that the suspensions were not punishment but were to allow a proper inquiry into the problem at the school and there were no disciplinary actions taken against the two to trigger the protection of the Constitution.

Rights claimed by Lucas and Carrillo including the right to work, protection of the law and right to equal protection were distinguished; the two were not guaranteed continued employment at Escuela Mexico or working elsewhere, and since the Ministry team was fact-finding there was no right to protection from a decision of theirs.

Any hurt feelings and embarrassment at the decision, the court ruled, would be addressed by laws on defamation, malicious falsehood and judicial review. The decision was a 3-2 majority with Justices Saunders and with dissenting in favor of the appellants.

Lucas and Carrillo were represented by Magali Marin Young Senior Counsel and Nigel Hawke and Marcia Mohabir represented Hyde and Minister of Education Patrick Faber.

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