Lawyer Jomo Thomas, part of a legal team representing public sector unions who were victorious in court on Monday, March 13, is confident that the ruling delivered by Justice Esco Henry will be upheld on appeal.
The judge ruled that the Public Service Commission, Police Service Commission and the Commissioner of Police acted in a procedurally improper manner, misdirected themselves and acted illegally by following the direction of the Minister that Claimants who had failed to take the COVID-19 vaccine should be deemed to have effectively resigned their offices.
Justice Henry said the Claimants in the case were entitled to their full pay and benefits due and payable to them including pensions.
Lawyer for the Defendants Anthony Astaphan SC has said the judge’s decision will be appealed.
Thomas, in an interview with SEARCHLIGHT on Monday said he believes the government has a “major challenge” on their hands in trying to have the ruling overturned, noting that they would first need to have Justice Henry’s ruling put on hold.
“What they need to do firstly is to get over the hurdle of having the decision stayed because they can’t just appeal, they have to have the decision stayed. If the decision is not stayed then the government is required in law to carry out all of the orders of the court.”
Thomas accused the government of having a poor track record of adhering to judgements handed down by the court.
“This government is notorious for disregarding directives, cost orders, damages orders. If they don’t get a stay, and if they refuse to carry out the decision as ordered by Justice Henry on their illegal and unconstitutional actions, we intend to bring them back to court on contempt citation.”
In addition to full pay, benefits and pensions owed, Justice Henry also awarded the Claimants damages including interest at six per cent per annum. Thomas said he was of the view that government’s appeal is a grab at straws.
“… It was such a major victory for the workers, it is unlikely that any court of law would overturn … it is highly unlikely. I don’t know what they are going to appeal, we said that we were strong in the law. We were vindicated today [March 13] by Justice Henry and her decision.”
Thomas said if it so happens that the government’s side is granted a stay in the ruling, he is confident that the judgment will be upheld in the Appellate court.
“The righteousness of this victory today … has given even more vitality, more energy into actual the workers who were dismissed, their friends, their supporters, their family and certainly, we as attorneys, are prepared to pursue this to the end game, which would, whatever happens, wherever it goes, lead to ultimate victory.”
Appearing for Claimants along with Thomas were Attorneys Cara Shillingford-Marsh and Shirlan M Barnwell.