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Court orders NWC to pay damages to former director
PAT ROXBOROUGH, Observer Court Writer
Thursday, July 04, 2002

THE National Water Commission (NWC) has been ordered to pay damages to Balteano Duffus, its former director of commercial operations.

The order, which was handed down on Monday by Supreme Court judge, Lennox Campbell, described the statutory organisation's handling of Duffus as unauthorised, unlawful and just plain wrong.

Duffus sued the NWC and its then chairman, Wayne Reid, on March 9, 1992, for breaching his employment contract. According to Duffus, he was given two letters on September 7, 1989. One of them advised that he was appointed director of commercial operations, with effect from January 1, 1987 and the other that he was being reassigned to a new post -- director of corporate planning -- with effect from September 4, 1989.

The letters, Duffus said, came against the background of a request by his managing director that he accept the new post in order to assist with bringing the NWC to a more 'business like level'.

Eight months into the post, Duffus got another letter saying that he was being retired from his new post. The letter was accompanied by a cheque.

Given Reid's earlier acknowledgement that the new post was a temporary measure introduced for the purpose of enhancing the company's operations, Justice Campbell said that the retiring letter was unlawful and led the court to draw the inference that personal motives influenced the NWC's treatment of Duffus.

In the statement of claim that defined his lawsuit, Duffus claimed loss of income from the date of his purported retirement, however, Justice Campbell said he wasn't entitled to that.

Instead the judge awarded him what amounted to the same thing under the heading of damages comprising:

* a sum equivalent to the salary he would have received from the date of the purported retirement;

* allowances he should have gotten during the period;

* a sum to represent the loss of the use of any motor vehicle he would have been entitled to during the period; and

* payment in lieu of vacation he would have been entitled to.

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