Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves says his government is still committed to passing integrity legislation. (IWN photo)

Attorney General, Judith Jones-Morgan has asked the court to set aside a temporary order that a student reportedly expelled from a high school return to classes there until a lawsuit is heard.

“I have been advised by the Honourable Attorney General that an application has been made, it was filed on Friday, to have that order set aside,” Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said Monday.

The statement by Gonsalves is the first by a government official since the development, which came to the fore last week when teachers of the St. Joseph Convent Kingstown (SJCK) walked off the job in protest against the student’s presence there.

The teachers also called in sick on Wednesday but returned to the classroom on Wednesday and the student was placed in a class that is different from the one she was reportedly assigned to in July, at the end of the last school year.

During the past week, a sketch of the situation has emerged through various communications to and through the media even as the Ministry of Education (MOE) has remained silent.

I-Witness News understands that the student was expelled from the Catholic school, a government-assisted institution, last year after making a rude comment about a teacher.

(Read: SJCK student said work was as ‘untidy’ as female teacher’s body part not washed for days — source)

The MOE is said to have assigned her to the Emmanuel High School Mesopotamia.

Jomo Thomas, lawyer for the mother of the Form 4 student, applied to the court and received an order preserving the status quo until the lawsuit against the principal of the school, MOE officials and the MOE itself is heard.

Gonsalves, who was out of state last week, told a press briefing in Kingstown on Monday that he has been informed that the hearing of the Attorney General’s application will take place on Friday.

He explained the reticence of the MOE, which is headed by Deputy Prime Minister, Girlyn Miguel, a former headmistress.

Gonsalves said the Minister of Education would have wanted to have her communications “away from the glare of publicity, lest anything which is said could be misinterpreted.

“It is better to be criticised to say you are not saying anything than to speak in a manner which would in one way affect the child’s welfare,” Gonsalves said.

He said that even as persons express their opinion on the controversial case, the welfare of the student must be of principal importance.

“Now, different people will have different opinions and anybody who has taken time out to familiarise themselves with the issues, anyone who has a sufficiency of interest in the matter, will have an opinion, but let us allow the determination by the court.

“Is the court going to set aside the order or not set aside the order? We don’t know? That will be determined by the court,” said Gonsalves, who is also a lawyer.

He said that the MOE has an “obligation” to provide students “a place in an appropriate educational institution” and is always prepared to do so.

“… the failure and or refusal, reluctance, to say anything thus far ought not to be held against them (the MOE) in any way at all.

“It is about a child, and we have always, I repeat, as mature, reflective individuals, have as paramount the welfare of the child. Whether the child is in school A or school B, it is a matter related to the welfare of the child. And you notice I am not making any judgements one way or the other, I am talking about the welfare of the child,” Gonsalves said.

Members of the SJCK PTA met at the school in Kingstown on Thursday. Click to read story. (IWN photo)
Members of the SJCK PTA met at the school in Kingstown on Thursday. Click to read story. (IWN photo)

Judge recuses himself 

He also announced that another judge will hear the AG’s application, since Justice Frederick Bruce-Lyle, who had heard Thomas’ ex parte application, has recused himself.

“I was informed that Justice Bruce-Lyle’s wife is on the board of St. Joseph’s Convent,” Gonsalves said.

“So, upon that realisation, probably if he (Bruce-Lyle) had realised it at the time, he probably would have recused himself,” he explained.

MOE doesn’t manage Convent

Gonsalves further said that the MOE is not in control of the management of SJCK.

“We assist the school. There is a protocol with the assisted schools but the determination as to whether a child should remain in a school or not is not the determination of the Ministry.

“But, clearly, the ministry has an obligation to provide a school for a child if a school, for whatever reason, says we don’t want to have this child,” Gonsalves further said.

“I can’t comment on the rights or wrongs of what any party did in this matter because there is an adjudication to be made by the judiciary,” he told reporters.

PM defends lawyer

The Prime Minister further defended the lawyer, Jomo Thomas, who was recently sworn in as a senator for the Unity Labour Party, which Gonsalves heads.

“He is a lawyer. He brought a case. A citizen feels that she has a grievance and that she wants that grievance to be legally redressed, she goes to a lawyer of her choice, which is her right.

“The lawyer put the matter in court, the lawyer does not determine cases, he is the conduit to go to the fount of justice,” Gonsalves said.

“Now, let us wait and see what happens on Friday. In the meantime, the school did clearly the correct thing by abiding by the first order of the court. But this does not take away any democratic right of the teacher or parents of anyone else for that matter to express their opinion…

“Sometimes when conflicts arise, we have to allow the institutions which we have set up as a civilised people to resolve the conflicts,” Gonsalves said.

(Read our extensive coverage of this story)

7 replies on “AG files counter application, PM comments on ‘Convent case’”

    1. Steve Huggins says:

      urlan, you can safely expect the long-time Marxist-Leninist Gonsalves to speak out of BOTH SIDES OF HIS MOUTH, politically.

      BUT, I am as SHOCKED as you, that this political being HAVE SO MANY SIDES OF HIS POLITICAL MOUTH to speak out of.

      Of course. he was on everybody’s side.

      Of course, he speaks on behalf of the Ed Ministry – – – “WAIT ‘TILL DADDY, papa doc Duvalier COME”!

      Of course, Jomo is right. And, the School is right.

      So PRONTO, ipso facto : “Everybody RIGHT”!

      Such a touchy, nicey-nicey feeling. ELECTIONS GO COME SOON.

      After all, legalised ganja, HOMOsexual license, and impending HOMO marriage.
      All nice an’ goodie. A ;LOT AH VOTES IN THOSE.

      And, just to remind you of the VOTING CATTLE.

      The best way to control them against dey best interests, Urlan, is to KEEP DEM IGNORANT.

      May the Almighty Creator speed the day when we see the backs of these duplicitous fakes-for-leaders.

      But, then AGAIN:

      JUST WHAT WAS THIS SELF-SERVING POLITICIAN SAYING ???

  1. So even the MOE is moving heaven and earth to teach this kid a lesson, eh…lawd hav mercy. If the court do decide to set aside the order…what next? Is the kid now has to leave Convent immediately in the middle of the school year and drag arse out to Mespo Emmanuel?

    Ah tell all yo..this kid must be the worse thing since Hitler…gwan people…when y’ll old arses going down the road of retribution and can barely hold up..this kid would be in she prime, skipping along to a bright and glorious future. Who knows she might be the first female PM in Vincyland…we never know what the future holds.

    Mother Prium used to say…it wouldn’t always be so…

    1. “If the court do decide to set aside the order…what next? Is the kid now has to leave Convent immediately in the middle of the school year”

      You seem to not know that:
      1. The child was transfered to the Emmanuel High School in the third term of the last school year.
      2. we are no where near the middle of this school year, school open in September and will close somewhere in June. Skipped Math classes did you?
      3. The only reason the child is in the mess she is in now is because she was disrespectful to every man jack at convent and she and her mother playing wrong and strong.

      “this kid must be the worse thing since Hitler” YOU said it…never in the life of the SJCK was a child so disrespectful to students, teachers, principal and management. This is a first!

  2. Steve Huggins. says:

    he narh mek judgment nar judge the case, but eh don’ judge the case.

    a private school has the legal right and prerogative to discipline any and all student(s) AS THEY SEE FIT, including use of the sanctions of suspension or expulsion.
    the ministry of education/ Govt financially ASSIST the school, but does not own, control or manage the school.
    Govt may freely choose to withdraw their financial assistance AT ANY TIME, or apply other sanction(s) against the school any time they so choose — especially if or when they may be displeased by the school, its policies or operations.

    Ministry gave the student concerned A PLACE at ANOTHER HIGH SCHOOL, apparently keeping her RECENT St. Joseph Convent School PROMOTION.
    My humble, unsolicited advise to PARENT AND CHILD/STUDENT, based on exhaustive experience navigating most of these schools: TAKE IT !
    And, READ AND STUDY the inspired PROVERBS of King Solomon.

    BUT, my brave Mr. Worship RECUSES HIMSELF, only after having FAILED TO RECUSE HIMSELF prior???
    Scandalous, Sir. Fus’ time I-man see you in such a legalocratic mess, after all them dicy situations you have so successfully negotiated in the past.
    Yuh seem to be loosing your touch, Bro?
    So, this ‘ting was all BEGUN IN ERROR – – – in the ‘fus place?!
    What a ‘JURIDICAL QUANDARY . . .
    Come now, Chief, RECOVER YOURSELF.

    The CONCLUSION of this whole matter?
    JOMO is a bee.
    Eh sting HAT, HAT.

    WHEN we use to fraternize with YOULIMO and UPM cadres, and devour FREEDOM and JUSTICE anti-Western, anti-Christian HATE RAG excuses for ‘newspapers’, Jomo and Co, Ralph and Co, Kenneth and Co, PR and Co, ad finitum, uses to be REAL STRANG in the “PRINCIPLED POSITION” that PARLIAMENTARIANS AND GOVERNMENT MINISTERS should NOT be RUNNING THEIR LEGAL CHAMBERS or PRACTICING THEIR LAW PROFESSIONS while they are IN legislative office or RECEIVING PAY AS PARLIAMENTARIANS or MINISTERS, or ‘Speakers’.

    Oh, HOW TIMES HAVE CHANGED.

    Ah wander if DE KOMRAD operating his own legal chambers? Are dey still OPEN? Can the Accountant General or Auditor General tell we IF DE KOMRAD receive any amounts from said offices SINCE MARCH 2001?

    Jomo, I-man still have to look at this SVUT beach picnic on the Leeward and commiserate with A MOST DISAPPOINTED SELF.
    Teachers so infuriated by Jomo’s politico-legal antics these days?
    Principals so almost unanimously allied against Jomo’s precipate juridical action?
    Ah mean, as a fellow stalwart TEACHER’S UNION activist, couldn’t you have counseled your clients to seek to redress the matter OUTSIDE of the Court, first?
    Could’nt you have VOLUNTARILY sought to speak to, mediate and ameliorate the issue AMICABLY with the Principal and Staff, and the Ministry Officials?
    Couldn’t you have used your new, enhance political-civic ‘clout’ as a brand-new senator to entice the School and Home to come to a livable settlement?
    Do barristers get pay, or other financial remuneration for settling matters via COUNSELLING, DIALOGUE, COMMUNICATION, HONOURABLE “COMPROMISE”, and AMICABLE DISPUTE RESOLUTION?
    Jomo, did you seek a second opinion from a brother or other fellow attorney/ legal eagle FIRST, before settling on “Court” action?
    Do lawyers even attempt to dissuade their irate clients from precipate or unrealistic litigation?
    Do you miss CLE in the SVG?
    Does this overblown, sensationalized incident have any ramifications or salient implications for LEGAL ETHICS AND RESPONSIBILITIES?

    Quick off the bat YOULIMO-UPM activist turned ULP senator HAS BROUGHT SUIT, according to the published reports here, AGAINST THE ULP GOVERNMENT, ULP EDUCATION MINISTRY, and OFFICIALS in the TEACHING SERVICE and, or, CIVIL SERVICE under ‘his’ OWN, own ULP ADMINISTRATION.
    This, to me, seems even worse than a questionable (spurious?) letter/article-writer apparently carrying the by-line moniker ‘Casper London’ VIGOROUSLY CRITICIZING AND IDEO-POLITICALLY ATTACKING ulp MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT for North Windward, Mr. Joel Montgomery Daniel IN THE PUBLIC PRESS.
    The Vincentian columnist Dr. Kenneth John had some sort of theory as to WHO may have actually wrote those politico-ideological articles; me NA-NO.
    R.M Cato, H.K. Tannis, and E.T. Joshua all told us that THE IDEOLOGICAL LEOPARD JUST CANNOT CHANGE ITS SPOTS.

    JOMO at VARIANCE with the ULP incumbent ADMINISTRATION?
    Its OFFICERS and OFFICIALS?
    Its MINISTERS OF GOVERNMENT?
    Its EDUCATION Minister?
    Its DEPUTY PRIME MINSTER?
    Its effective ACTING PRIME MINISTER?

    WHAT kind of one-sided, biased story did Jomo give us in the earlier report?
    Its much akin to the UNAPOLOGETIC guy, a Gonsalves apologist, who heatedly ‘argued’ that Daddy’s boy Camillo had an “engineering” degree? Or, were we mis-informed, or under-informed later?!

    Oh, what a tangled web of lies you fawning, parochial apologists weave WHEN FIRST YOU PRACTISE TO DECEIVE.

    My alternate comrade Jomo, leader of the now defunct or abandoned alternate communist party of svg. Wey does that leave Oscar Allen and Co.?
    Is the party NOW in ALLIANCE with Ralph Gonsalves’ ulp -LABOUR PARY?
    Or, is the party in a COALITION with Ralph Gonsalvez’ ulp-LABOUR PARTY?

    Is it a case of “CAPTAIN out, ALL man OUT!”?

    Jomo Thomas is ALL WET, as his American hubnobbers would say in their peculiar idiom.

  3. I am always shocked that any discussion on any topic in SVG always leads to politics with a little hate and disgust thrown in.

    This issue is very serious and has the capability of damaging this child’s life and future development. This issue will bring about new rules for teachers and student interaction both in a classroom and out in society. My child and yours will now follow a new way and approach to school and their life throughout their school years.

    Instead of focusing on the issue it has evolved into an argument in politics of whom can be seen as a member of the NDP, ULP or what ever party that exist. It now in genders the issue of “homosexual licenses” what ever that means and elections for a time to come.

    You insult each other while placing labels on your leaders (both elected and appointed) with variable names some so nasty we blush to repeat them. These are the reasons why our children repeat them again and again thus leading to the situation we are now presented with. A child at one of our leading educational institution thinks it’s O.K.to refer to her teacher (a leader) in a vulgar manner, something she sees her elders doing everyday at home, school and in her society, this blame should be shouldered by us all and should make us all feel ashame.

    Lets focus on this issue and forget about the nasty fights that will be had during an election, lead your children, lead your family and stand up in your community to do the right thing. Something is wrong!!!! Our kids are killing each other in the street and our families are falling apart yet a country of only 105,000 people are shouldering problems that are endemic of nations with huge populations. I am scared we are losing a generation of our children to violence and crime deeply rooted in what we are teaching them. We should know that HATE breeds HATE.

    My intent is not to disrespect but to get my fellow country men and women to see the big picture and not just the politics of the game. We are causing these ills and we are allowing it to fester and grow at the cost of our community’s survival.

    1. Steve Huggins says:

      Jeff, if you are in any way a “glebe-land” Ross, then perhaps one should say famo.
      My response to you would be: WHERE, ON EARTH, HAVE YOU BEEN JUST THESE PAST FEW WEEKS ???

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