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Two more ABDF officers challenge employment changes

The Defence Force claims that similar changes were made to the commission scrolls of 36 other officers, with this practice dating back to 2013

In a move mirroring Javonson Willock’s recent legal maneuver, two additional officers, Austin Buntin and Marlan Mathurin, have submitted applications to the High Court, seeking to temporarily stop the Antigua & Barbuda Defence Force (ABDF) from altering their employment statuses.

The duo, like Willock, filed an application asking the court to grant them interim injunctions based on similar grounds presented in Willock’s recent application. 

They argue that their instruments of employment were legally sanctioned and are challenging any alterations by the Defence Force.

The officers told the court that their employment could be abruptly or prematurely terminated if the Defence Force is not restrained from implementing alterations to their status. Like their colleague, they were also not granted an opportunity to be heard before the decision was taken.

All three men risk losing their pension after working with the force for several years.

The court has since granted Willock the injunction. Buntin and Mathurin’s application however was filed on January 11 against the Defence Force Chief of Staff and the Attorney General who is in charge of national security.

The officers are likely hoping that the court will grant their injunction just like it did in December 2023 for captain Willock.

In its defence the Defence Force has told the court that it was not discriminating against any one worker but was correcting oversights made to the employment status of several officers. In court documents, the Defence Force claimed that during a 2022 meeting, several officers were informed of the error and were told they would be granted extensions based on their performance.

The ABDF claimed to have made those changes to 36 other officers’ commission scrolls, a practice that dates back to 2013.

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