Frank Seepersad

The former manager of the Roxborough Hyperbaric Facility will learn the fate of his lawsuit, over allegedly being wrongfully terminated from his post on August 15.

High Court judge Frank Seepersad reserved his judgement in the case, brought by Devon Peterkin against the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) and Tobago Regional Health Authority (TRHA), after completing a brief trial in the Tobago High Court last week.

According to the evidence presented in the lawsuit Peterkin, a retired fire officer, was hired by the THA, when it operated the facility. The facility provides treatment for divers suffering decompression sickness.

Peterkin claimed that even before starting the job he made numerous complaints about the compensation package including to former THA deputy chief secretary Hilton Sandy.

Peterkin claimed that he only agreed to stay on and accepted successive contract renewals as he received several promises that his remuneration package would be adjusted.

Stating in his affidavit that he began to feel frustrated and hopeless with the passage of time, Peterkin admitted that he had refused to complete an emergency decompression treatment in September 2014.

Peterkin claimed that he only continued the procedure after receiving an assurance from then Health Secretary Claudia Groome-Duke.

“After performing the treatment, I was chastised by those in authority at the TRHA and publicly ridiculed by the local media. Although I was subjected to hostility from my superiors, I continued to carry out my duties,” Peterkin said.

He claimed that while it was not covered in his contract, his duties included being on 24-hour call to respond to emergency situations.

In March 2015, Peterkin learned that he had been removed from the payroll. He was later informed that a new facilities manager had been hired.

“It is my understanding that this new employee performs basically the same duties that I did at a substantially higher remuneration package than I received,” he said.

Through the lawsuit, Peterkin is seeking a declaration that he was improperly removed and almost $1 million in compensation, which represents his alleged shortfall in salary, gratuity, and call-out allowance.

In defence of the claim, the THA alleged that Peterkin was terminated as he was allegedly frequently absent from work and underperformed in the role.

Peterkin is being represented by Deborah Moore-Miggins.