Derek Achong

A former BWIA International Airways pilot has been given the clearance to pursue compensation for an on-the-job injury he suffered over two decades ago.

Former first officer/flight engineer Tajo Beharry suffered the injury to his eye after hydraulic fluid sprayed into his face during an inspection of an aircraft before a flight on March 7, 1994.

Beharry sued the company in 1998 and lost his case in 2003.

Three years later, the Court of Appeal overturned the decision and ordered that compensation be assessed for Beharry.

The State-owned company, which was shut down in 2006 and replaced with Caribbean Airlines, indicated that it wanted to appeal to the Privy Council but eventually discontinued the move.

When assessment of damages was eventually assigned to High Court Robin Mohammed in 2019, the company’s lawyers challenged the move claiming that it could not continue as it was outside the 12-year-old statutory period for enforcing a judgement.

Delivering a preliminary judgment late last month, Mohammed ruled that as neither the trial judge nor the Court of Appeal assessed the damages, there was a split in the case in terms of enforcement.

“There was simply no judgment debt in favour of the plaintiff in the instant matter and therefore no judgement to enforce,” Mohammed said.

“While I agree that the plaintiff should have taken a more active role in his matter, I am asked to determine a point of law on limitation and not unreasonable delay or abuse of process,” he added.

Despite his ruling Mohammed did not immediately assess the compensation due to Beharry as directions had to be given to file submissions on the suggested quantum.

Beharry is being represented by Anand Ramlogan, SC, Ganesh Saroop, and Alvin Pariagsingh, while Ravindra Nanga and Alana Bissessar are representing the company.