IF the Defence Force (TTDF) intends to impose the severe penalty of discharge for drug use, then this policy must be clearly stated and told to all servicemen.
This was the advice given by a High Court judge who ruled that the decision to discharge soldier Marvin Alexis, who failed a random drug test, was in breach of the rules of natural justice.
Alexis tested positive for marijuana use in March 2016.
He was discharged on December 13, 2016, although his tour of duty was to have ended on April 2017.
In her ruling in which she quashed the decision of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) to discharge Alexis, Justice Joan Charles advised that the TTDF must inform its servicemen if it intended to discharge them for drug use.
“To do anything less will have the unfortunate result of perpetuating unfairness in the treatment of members of the TTDF found to have engaged in illicit drug use.”
She found that the CDS was not empowered to discharge Alexis under Section 28 of the Defence Act and Regulation 5 of the Defence (Enlistment and Service) Regulations of the Defence Force Act Regulations 14:01 for a failed drug test without first having made clear to him that that could be the sentenced imposed.
Having ruled that the decision to discharge Alexis was invalid, she said he was entitled to be reinstated retroactive to December 2016 for the remainder of his contract, and any issue on whether he should be engaged further was left for the determination of the military authorities.
Alexis was represented by attorney Ronald Simon while Kendra Mark and Antoinette Alleyne represented the CDS.