New Industrial Court President

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By Prior Beharry

ONE day after the Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) protested the removal of President of the Industrial Court Deborah Thomas-Felix, a new one has been appointed.

On Wednesday, a release from the Office of President stated that Heather Seale was appointed as the new president of the Industrial Court. She was appointed by President Christine Kangaloo.

Seale replaces Thomas-Felix who served for 11 consecutive years.

President of the Industrial Court Deborah Thomas-Felix with her new book. AZP News/Azlan Mohammed
Former President of the Industrial Court Deborah Thomas-Felix

JTUM staged a protest outside President’s House in St Ann’s on Tuesday, with its president Ancel Roget saying that if Thomas-Felix was not reappointed there would be dark days ahead for the country.

He said, “We do not want to return to those dark days where working people had absolutely no confidence in the Industrial Court to dispense fairness and equity and justice for workers in this country.”

Roget said Thomas-Felix was well respected and so too were her judgments.

The release from President’s House stated that Seale was appointed after consultation with Chief Justice Ivor Archie as stipulated in the law.

It stated, “The Office of The President is pleased to announce that, following consultation with the Honourable Chief Justice of Trinidad and Tobago as required by section 4 (3) (a) (ii) of the Industrial Relations Act, Her Honour Mrs. Heather Seale has been appointed by Her Excellency as the President of the Industrial Court.

“Her Honour Mrs. Seale is an extremely experienced Member of the Industrial Court, having been a Member for almost 20 years, since Her Honour holds a Master’s Degree in Occupational and Environmental Safety and Health, and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sociology, from the University of The West Indies. She also holds an LL. B Degree from the University of London and is a Certified Mediator.

“Throughout her long and distinguished career in the public service, Her Honour Mrs. Seale has held the positions of Member of the Industrial Court; Registrar of the Tax Appeal Board; and State Counsel at the Ministry of Finance, among numerous other public service positions. She has attended and participated in a host of training courses and seminars, including overseas working visits to the Combined Special Tribunals in London and the Tax Court of Canada. As a Member of the Industrial Court, Her Honour has served diligently and consistently has contributed tremendously to the development of the industrial relations jurisprudence in Trinidad and Tobago, including by Her Honour’s many written judgments.

“Her Honour Mrs Seale has been a lay leader for the past ten years at the Unity Centre of Faith. She acts as a Mentor for students at her alma mater St Francois Girls’ College and in 2018 was recognised by the school as a “Phenomenal Woman” .

“The Office of The President also wishes to thank the former Industrial Court President, Mrs Deborah Thomas-Felix, for her dedicated service to the Industrial Court and, by extension, to the people of Trinidad and Tobago, and for having served in that position for more than 11 consecutive years. Mrs. Thomas Felix’s leadership over this period was instrumental in helping to build capacity at the Industrial Court, including in building a pool of talented members from which it has been possible to select a new President.”


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