Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
MINISTRY OF EDUCATION
CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS DIVISION
Education Towers, No.5 St. Vincent Street, Port of Spain, Trinidad
CLARIFICATION ON THE TRIBUNAL MATTER CONCERNING THE TRANQUILITY SECONDARY SCHOOL
The Ministry of Education took a decision to discontinue the matter of alleged misconduct by six teachers of the Tranquility Secondary School after several years of repeated adjournment of the hearing. Given the recurrent delays and adjournments since the incident and the initiation of tribunal the decision was taken by the Ministry of Education to preserve the integrity of the tribunal process.
In the High Court Action 1002 of 2004: Anthony Leach versus The Public Service Commission, Justice Judith Jones ruled that after a period of four (4) years of the Commission’s failure to determine a matter, the undue delays constitute to a breach of citizen’s rights to a fair trial. In another matter, the Privy Council ruled that the Courts must balance the fundamental right of the individual to a fair trial within a reasonable time against the public interest in the attainment of justice.
Tribunal proceedings against the six teachers of the Tranquility Secondary School began in July 2013. The matter was called approximately 20 times between that date and March 17, 2017. On each occasion the Ministry of Education was ready to proceed. The Ministry of Education had five witnesses prepared to give evidence in the matter—former Principal (Ag.) assigned to Tranquility, the then Vice Principal (Ag) and three electrical inspectors from the Ministry of Public Utilities. The matter was adjourned on multiple occasions for reasons beyond the Ministry’s control including absence of officers charged, change of chairman appointed to hear the matter and adjournment by the Commission for “house-keeping” reasons.
In light of the circumstances and the extended delays of the Commission over the period, which exceeds four years and on the guidance of the Tribunal Chairman, the Ministry of Education discontinued the matter against the teachers of Tranquility.