Convinced that he was wrongfully discharged from the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), former captain Rawle Brake is suing the Attorney General for unpaid benefits including salary, annual leave, leave passage and annual Christmas bonus.
In court documents filed at the High Court in Georgetown by his lawyer, Patrice Henry, Blake said that he was enlisted in the GDF at age 19, as a Private. He said he was selected to participate in the Standard Officer’s Course, and as an Officer Cadet, was trained for nine months.
Upon successful completion of the course, Blake said he was made a commissioned officer, holding the gazetted rank of Second Lieutenant, as of November 23, 2003, nine months after his enlistment.
According to Blake, he was discharged from duties on April 01, 2019, by being stuck of strength (SOS) by the Chief of Staff. He claims he has no recollection of ever being disciplined previously and even now for any particular breach in his military career, that carries dismissal done by court martial proceedings.
Blake also claims he has worked continuously and has satisfied the statutory pensionable service of 10 years. According to him, he was never subjected to court martial proceedings, despite several requests for same to be done in the instant matter and was “railroaded” and “cow boy” by an unconstitutional process of being forced to resign or face dismissal.
Henry argues, “The method used to seperate [his client’s] service is wrong, unconstitutional, null, void and of no legal effect, and render the discharge as unlawful, to deprive [his client] of pension and gratuity rights, under the Pension and Guyana Defence Force Acts, and the Constitution.”
Henry submits that his client’s discharge was discriminatory in nature, done deliberately to cause him undue financial hardship and had the necessary impact on his family.
In fact, Henry says his client is currently experiencing financial hardship despite seeking an alternative employment, but is yet to receive even a temporary job with less payment.
At the time of his dismissal, Blake had and still has utility bills, hire purchase items and loan to repay, in addition to a wife and four minor children, Henry explains.
Blake, at the time of his discharge, earned $200,000 as a basic monthly salary and was stationed and attached to 4 Engineering Battalion, Camp Stephenson, Timehri, East Bank Demerara.
Further to that, he argues that Blake’s unlawful discharge amounts to a side wind dismissal at best, and if not corrected would remain a travesty and or miscarriage of justice.
In the circumstances, Blake is seeking in excess of $500,000 in aggravated damages, and in excess of $400,000 in substantial and significant costs.
Further to that, Blake is seeking general damages in excess of 40 months’ salary representing the period it would take him to be re-employed in a similar job; and also an order for his full salary to be paid from April 01, 2019, up until the court renders its decision.
The former army captain is asking that interest on all money judgement herein at 6% per annum from the time of the filing of his lawsuit, up until the judgment of the court and at 4% per annum from date of judgment up until the monies are fully paid.
Apart from requesting several declarations, he is asking the court to grant any other or further order as the court deems fit and just in the circumstances.