Derek Achong

A former employee of the Mayaro/Rio Claro Regional Corporation, who claims that he was fired for being mentally ill after he reported a senior official to the Anti-Corruption Unit, has called on the Ombudsman to investigate.

In a letter sent last week and obtained by Guardian Media, attorney Richard Jaggasar, who is representing former checker Edison Rambarran, is claiming that the senior official’s move to terminate his employment amounted to injustice and maladministration.

Jaggasar claimed that in 2019, his client, who had been employed by the corporation for seven years before being terminated, was approached to be a witness in the probe into the senior official and he complied.

He claimed after Rambarran assisted investigators, he was terminated in an alleged attempt to discredit his (Rambarran) evidence in the case.

“It is believed this was the intent of the actions all along, an orchestrated manoeuvre to make my client’s evidence at the Anti-Corruption Unit unusable,” Jaggasar said, as he also claimed that his client received threats from the official before he (the official) took the action.

Jaggasar claimed that after giving the evidence, Rambarran attempted to get a transfer to Couva Tabaquite Regional Corporation, which was initially approved by the Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government.

However, he claimed that the transfer was blocked by the official, who was named in the document but cannot be identified as the allegations against him are yet to be proven.

Jaggasar alleged that after being refused the transfer, his client was sent for an evaluation at the St Ann’s Psychiatric Hospital in February.

While the evaluation allegedly claimed that Rambarran was unfit for duty, Jaggasar questioned whether it was done properly as no doctors were allegedly present.

“No one checked his medical records which were on hand and no one asked any questions. He was seen by two nurses and only the usual vitals were taken,” Jaggasar said.

“It is suggested that the official orchestrated this mandatory medical examination to deem my client unfit for work and mentally ill in an effort to strike out his testimony in the anti-corruption investigation,” Jaggasar added.

Jaggasar claimed that his client obtained a certificate of fitness from the Eastern Regional Health Authority in May but it was ignored when he was terminated.

Jaggasar called on the Ombudsman to immediately investigate the claims and recommend the removal of the official. He suggested that the Ombudsman could refer his investigation to the T&T Police Service (TTPS) if he finds evidence of a breach of duty, misconduct, or criminal conduct.

He gave the Ombudsman 30 days in which to respond to the correspondence.