Battleground shifts to the public domain
|The collapse of the Industrial tribunal case concerning Joanna Hernandez does NOT mean that the Social Services Agency accepts that Joanna Hernandez was unfairly dismissed, says a statement from the Ministry of Family, Youth and Community Affairs.
Meanwhile the other side has come out saying that "it is clear a that the Agency is not telling the truth on this issue..."
The battleground on this long-standing issue has now shifted from the tribunal to the public domain.
According to the Government, the collapse of the case does not mean that the Agency accepts that Joanna Hernandez was unfairly dismissed.
The Agency remains of the view that she was fairly dismissed for good and proper reason. The case collapsed because the Agency was unable to obtain the return to Gibraltar of its principal witness.
Without this witness the Agency cannot prove what it must prove ? thus entitling Mr Hernandez to win, for that reason.
The Agency repeats what it has said frequently throughout his case, and earlier. All allegations involving the welfare of service users are investigated by management. All allegations made, which indicate the possible commission of a criminal offence are referred to the police, for proper, external and independent investigation. This has happened in relation to the allegations made by Joanna Hernandez.
In these circumstances, the statement adds, "the Government condemns the statement of Mr Bossano that he believes that the Government, with the alleged participation of the Attorney General and the police, has been trying to cover up allegations. This is preposterous."
Indeed, if Mr Bossano or Joanna Hernandez have further allegations of legal wrongdoing by anyone their duty is to report the matter to the RGP for investigation in the usual and proper manner. The Industrial Tribunal is not the appropriate forum for airing or investigating such allegations, however much Mr Bossano may feel frustrated at what he clearly sees as being deprived of the opportunity to convert this Tribunal into another of his political circuses.
This is best illustrated by Mr Bossano?s statement that he believed that the ex-Chief Executive of the Agency had simply made a recommendation for dismissal and that it was the then Social Services Minister, Yvette Del Agua who ultimately took the decision to fire Ms Hernandez and should have given evidence.
This statement by Mr Bossano is false, it adds. The decision to terminate Ms Hernandez?s contract was taken entirely by the Chief Executive in the exercise of her managerial functions. The Minister?s intervention was limited to establishing that the Agency had followed due process and that legal advice had been sought and obtained from the Attorney General?s Chambers.
The Agency again calls for anyone who alleges wrongdoing to report it to the management of the Agency, to the RGP or to the Government. However, a constant campaign of innuendo without reporting allegations to the police, is totally unfair on the staff of the Agency who are workers delivering a valuable public service.
But the GSLP takes a different view in another statement issued yesterday. "The Social Services Agency has stated it has abandoned the defence of the unfair dismissal of Joanna Hernandez. The excuse given is that the Agency has been unable to obtain the attendance of Ms Isabella Tosso, the CEO, "who is believed to be in the UK."
This implies that they do not know where she is and have not been able to contact her, says the statement.
It adds: The Agency knows full well where she is, has been contacted and has chosen to abandon the case because they would have lost it, and the allegations of abuse would have been aired in the course of the hearing which is what they want to avoid.
The Agency also says that the decision not to confirm Ms Hernandez as Manager of the Dr Giraldi Home in November 2005 was taken by Isabella Tosso and only she can give evidence for the decision and the manner it was arrived at.
This, says the statement, contradicts the terms of the termination of employment letter (See below).
The decision taken by the Agency means the involvement of Mrs Yvette del Agua as Chairperson and the Board appointed by her. For the last 2 1/2 years the claimant has been asking for the evidence of when and by whom was her performance reviewed and who took the decision not to confirm her appointment, says the statement.
And it adds: "It is clear that the Agency is not telling the truth on this issue like it is not telling the truth in other matter raised in this case."
THE TERMINATION LETTER
24th October 2005
Dear Miss Hernandez,
RE: Probation and Confirmation of Appointment
Further to my memorandum dated 1st September 2005 I am writing to inform you
that your performance in your position as Manager of Dr Giraldi has been
reviewed and it is the conclusion of the Social Services Agency that you
have failed to meet the required standard.
I therefore regret to inform you that your contract will not be renewed at
the end of the probationary year.
Chief Executive Officer