Jomo Thomas pained by Noel Jackson’s comments
From Left: General secretary of the National Workers Movement (NWM), Noel Jackson and Lawyer Jomo Thomas
March 24, 2023

Jomo Thomas pained by Noel Jackson’s comments

Lawyer Jomo Thomas says he is pained by comments made on BOOM FM 106.9 by general secretary of the National Workers Movement (NWM), Noel Jackson.

Thomas was referring to comments made by Jackson on Wednesday in relation to the recent High Court ruling in the case involving public officers and the Government regarding the COVID-19 mandate.

“…Mr. Jackson is a trade unionist of long standing. Probably he has more than 40 years under his belt in trade unionism and to literally parrot the view of officialdom is a little disconcerting to me,” Thomas said minutes after Jackson had spoken to OMG in the Morning host, Dwight “Bing” Joseph.

The discussion was over the government’s decision to apply for a stay of execution of the order of the High Court which said that public servants who had been fired under the Public Health (Public Bodies Special Measures) Rules 2021 (SR&O No 28), were illegally dismissed and had never ceased to hold their jobs.

Jackson had said among other things that persons have the right to protest if they feel wronged but they must not do it in a way that they become “wild cats”. He said as well that the goal of the government is to represent and protect people and the constitution gives the government leverage in case of public health emergencies. SR&O No 28 was a protective measure and industrial relations has evolved and should not always be confrontational.

Jackson said as well that some persons choose not to take the vaccine and the legislation (SR&O No 28) provided the authority to the government to dismiss persons.
Thomas noted that Jackson said the constitution gives the government authority, but in his (Thomas’s) opinion, the government did not use that authority.
“That authority is grounded in Section 17 of the constitution, so when he says the constitution gives the government authority, he evidently does not know that the government didn’t use the authority that was grounded in the constitution,” Thomas noted.

“The government proceeded through the statute, and not only they proceed through the statute of the Public Health Act of 1977, they proceeded through the statute by amending the statute to introduce Section 43B, so evidently I am not sure if Mr. Jackson knows that or if he decided to say what he said because it is being bandied about that the government acted constitutionally even though the court is saying that it did not,” Thomas, a former Speaker of the House of Assembly pointed out.

He added that Jackson said people have to live with the choices they make and while he (Thomas) also believes that there are consequences to choices, during the trial, one of the government’s attorneys, Anthony Astaphan, said persons were given the opportunity to seek religious and medical exemptions, but the government selected the doctors who people had to go to.

He added that on the religious aspect, the government said that some religious people did not have a philosophical opposition to vaccine, so consequently you have to take the vaccine.

“Well even if a religion does not have a philosophical opposition to a vaccine, I have a personal choice. There are a lot of things that certain religions say and some people don’t embrace them wholeheartedly, they select…”.

“So this whole notion of consequences-but you go beyond the consequences because Mr. Jackson goes on to say that ‘as a trade unionist if the workers told him that they should go to court, he would go to court’ -and I take that as tacit approval of the union’s attitude in terms of going to court.

“…but where the unions went to court and prevailed in court, rather than be critical of the administration for not obeying the dictates of the court, he blames the workers, he blames the workers’ leaders by saying the workers should have done this or that or the other.”

The lawyer said there are three branches of government, the executive which carries out the law, the legislature which makes the laws, and the judiciary which interprets the laws.

“So the legislature directed, the executive goes to parliament and makes a set of laws, the judiciary reviewing those laws says that these laws and the operationality of those laws were illegal, unconstitutional, disproportionate, and tainted by procedural impropriety.

“…the judiciary says that the laws that the government passed were wrong. The Prime Minister turns around and tells the judiciary, ‘you are wrong’ and Mr. Jackson comes on this programme today understanding that we have three independent branches of government and the executive is duty bound to obey the judiciary once it makes a decision.

“But he says, he cloaks his defense of the government faction on the trade unionism and the world has changed and we must now, if we don’t respond to the changing world we would perish,” Thomas argued.

Thomas said that if they had taken Jackson’s view that the union should have written to the government Jackson should have known that as early as May of 2021.
He said Jackson, as a trade unionist should have known that the union had written to the government on a number of points and the government had not responded.