Legal battle for Comptroller of Customs position begins

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Ian Haylock
Estelle Leslie

Justice of the Supreme Court, Westmin James has ruled that Deputy Comptroller of Customs, Ian Haylock can proceed with a case of judicial review in the appointment by Prime Minister, John, Briceño, of one of his former subordinates, Estelle Leslie, as the new Comptroller of Customs.
Haylock through his attorneys, former Prime Minister, Dean Barrow and Darrell Bradley argued the case on Wednesday February 3. He asked the court to allow him leave to fully explore whether or not Leslie’s appointment was in accordance with the constitution. He also asked for an injunction to bar Leslie from taking up the appointment.
In his judgment, Judge James stated that Haylock has two arguments which have a realistic prospect of success.
He noted that one of those arguments were whether or not Prime Minister Briceño properly consulted with the Public Services Commission before advising the Governor General to appoint Leslie as the new comptroller.
He stated that, “There ought to have been consultation and or adequate consultation and that there was effectively no consultation” in the appointment of the comptroller.
Justice James expressed that there was not adequate time given to the public services commission to respond to the appointment and that the Governor General’s actions can be questioned in court if they are unlawful. Justice James explained that “the instruments issued by the Governor General could be null and void” and that there was no bar for the court to review these decisions.
On the issue of the injunction, Justice James ruled that the office was too important to leave vacant and as such ruled against it.
The case will now proceed with as an expedited matter. Timelines for the full hearing to take place is now being worked on.