You can now listen to Antigua News articles!
Lieutenant Austin Buntin and Second Lieutenant Marian Mathurin, who are both serving officers, have taken legal action against the Chief of Defence Staff of the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force (ABDF) and the Attorney General.
They have filed an application for an interim injunction, which was brought before the court on January 11, 2024.
The matter at hand pertains to the variation of the Applicants’ military commission status, which was changed from indefinite to a specified period without their consent.
The Applicants contend that the decision to vary their commission is illegal and have sought redress through the High Court of Justice.
They are requesting several reliefs, including an order restraining the Respondents from varying or causing the variation of their commission until the determination of the substantive claim for an Administrative Order.
Additionally, they seek an order to prevent the Respondents from instructing the surrender of their commission instruments for an indefinite period until the substantive claim is resolved.
The Applicants emphasize that they were legally granted their indefinite commission under Section 15(2) of the Defence Act, 2006, and argue that any unilateral variation of their commission is unlawful.
They stress that there is no requirement for them to be granted a commission for a specified period before becoming eligible for an indefinite commission.
They were not given any opportunity to be heard regarding the decision to vary their commission, which could have adverse financial and other impacts on them.
The urgency of the matter is highlighted by the alleged increase in pressure from the Chief of Defence Staff for the Applicants to surrender their commission instruments.
In response, the Applicants have brought this matter before the court, seeking an interim injunction to protect their commission status.
The court has previously granted an application for an interim injunction on similar grounds, reinforcing the merit and urgency of the Applicants’ current application.
Lieutenant Austin Buntin, one of the Applicants, expressed the urgency and importance of the matter, stating, “The term of employment will come to an abrupt or premature end if the respondents are not restrained from unilaterally varying the Applicants’ indefinite Commission.”
The court has set a hearing date to determine the interim injunction application, and the Applicants await a favorable decision that will protect their military commission status during the resolution of the substantive claim.