News
February 14, 2014
Otto Sam pleased with ‘landmark judgement’

Former public servant Otto Sam believes that the court’s decision to rule in his favour against the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines is a breakthrough case.{{more}}

Sam, speaking to SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday, said that he was pleased with the outcome, and that it shows that his contractual arrangement with the government was violated.

“I think it’s a landmark judgment. I give thanks to God for it. It took some time, but one has to be patient to wait it out,” Sam noted.

“It tells me that no one is above the law, and that God at the end is greater than those who are taking directives… and know that they are doing wrong, but still do it….”

In 2010, Sam was transferred from the South Rivers Methodist School where he was the headteacher, to the offices of the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) in Kingstown.

Last week Thursday, Justice Gertel Thom concluded in her judgment that the decision of the chief personnel officer at the time, Tyrone Burke, was illegal and irrational, and that Sam should make an application for damages within three months.

“What it says in terms of that transfer of assignment is that it is illegal and wrong to just move someone from a post or appointment, and take them to no post, and no definition of a job, no job specification… that is illegal and it is irrational to take a person trained in a particular way and just dump them somewhere….” Sam told SEARCHLIGHT.

Sam’s legal battles are not yet over, however.

He had appealed his May 15, 2013 dismissal from the public service.

The outspoken former president of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers Union was sent packing after a majority decision by a tribunal concluded that he was guilty of misconduct.

While stationed at NEMO, Sam wrote a letter that criticised the organization. He was suspended until his dismissal.

Sam told SEARCHLIGHT that he now uses his free time to farm his lands and conduct bible studies.

“I am keeping my eyes on Him. In these times everybody will take leave from you, but God stays with you and that is so important.

The St Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers Union also issued a press release on Wednesday, applauding the judgement given by Justice Thom.

“The SVGTU sees this as a significant milestone in the development of law in our jurisdiction,” the release stated.

“The SVGTU looks forward with great anticipation for the full judgement of the matter,” it said.