Judge rules in favour of airport security officer who refused entry to SCASPA’s CEO; focus now on allegations of security breach against Government Minister
A SCASPA security officer, Ijaz Francis, who was suspended when he denied his CEO access to a restricted area when he failed to produce his SCASPA-issued identification, has won a judicial review in the St Kitts High Court on Friday.
This latest ruling underscores the need for compliance with port rules and policies, irrespective of position.
It also points a spotlight on recent allegations of a security breach at the Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw International Airport by the Minister of Public Infrastructure, Post, Urban Development, Transport and Energy, Hon Ian Patches Liburd.
His Lordship, Mr Justice Eddy Ventose ruled that the decision of the SCASPA CEO, Denzil “Don” James was ultra vires (an invalid excess of authority or power) and that Francis was entitled to his salary with interest.
Mr Ijaz Francis, retained the law firm of Sylvester Anthony to challenge his 10-day suspension without pay.
Last year James tried to access Gate 10 which leads to the Air Cargo shed which is a restricted area at the Robert L Bradshaw International Airport.
Security officer Francis requested James to produce his ID which he did not provide and was denied entry.
James pushed the gate which knocked security officer Francis in the chest and proceeded to the Air Cargo shed.
After his unauthorized entry, the security officer refused to let James out and only did so on the instructions of his supervisor.
James later summoned Francis to his office for a meeting. Francis was suspended without pay for 10 days and required him to write a letter of apology to CEO James.
Francis lawyers sought an injunction against the Port Authority, which was granted by a judge after he had already completed his ten-day suspension without pay. The judge also ordered Francis’ reinstatement.
In his ruling Justice Ventose noted that if a claim was made for damages, it would have been appropriate for damages to be granted.
In relation to the allegations of a security breach by Minister Liburd, Federal Minister of Aviation, Hon Mark Brantley confirmed on the weekend that he is carrying out an investigation into the alleged April 6 2019 security breach when according to an incident report, Minister Liburd “walked through the metal detector and going straight to the door to enter the airside area of the airport without being checked.”
At his press conference last week, Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris indicated that he was not aware of any security breach and branded the allegations as propaganda.