The High Court has issued an interim injunction preventing the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force (ABDF) from making any alterations to the employment status of Captain Javonson Willock.
The court order was issued by Justice Jans Drysdale on Monday morning after Lieutenant Colonel Alando Michael, representing the defence force chief, refused to commit to not altering Willock’s contract terms without a court order.
The ABDF is seeking to rectify what they claim to be an “oversight” that allegedly kept captain Javonson Willock in a permanent position for seven years.
Willock, who represented himself, argues that his permanent employment was lawfully granted, and any effort to now change the terms of his employment is an “unlawful attempt to constructively dismiss him”.
He believes the Force’s recent decision is a continuation of efforts to force his resignation. In 2020, following an internal decision, he was found guilty of misconduct for fraternizing with junior ranks.
In September, a High Court ruling overturned that decision, citing an unfair trial and ordered the ABDF to conduct the hearing in accordance with the organisation’s regulations.
Additionally, the court ruled that Willock was entitled to damages and costs, with a settlement expected no later than October 26. Instead, the Defence Force has launched another investigation in relation to the allegations of misconduct dating back to 2019.
The court ruling means that the ABDF is not allowed to make any changes until the initial matter is heard.
Both parties are to submit skeleton arguments on or by December 11 and the hearing of the matter is set down for December 13.