Otto Sam. (Internet photo)
Otto Sam. (Internet photo)

The transfer of career educator Otto Sam from his post as headmaster of the South Rivers Methodist School to the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) in 2010 was irrational and illegal, a High Court judge has ruled.

Justice Gertel Thom handed down the decision on Friday.

Sam, an outspoken public servant, was transferred from the school to NEMO after he complained that Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves broke Ministry of Education protocol during a visit to the school, by not first reporting to the head teacher.

Gonsalves is constituency representative for North Central Windward, where the school is located.

Sam was suspended from the public service in August 2012, in the wake of a letter he wrote, which was published in two local newspapers under the caption “NEMO — an interesting organisation”.

In the letter, Sam said, among other things, NEMO’s staff had not met since September 2011, although the 2012 hurricane season began on June 1.

He was fired from the Public Service in May 2013, after the finding of a tribunal, and is appealing that decision.

Lawyer Jomo Thomas, whose chambers represented Sam in the case, told I-Witness News on Sunday that the judge also ruled that Sam is entitled to prescribed costs and had three months in which to file for damages.

“I think it is a good thing for law-making in St. Vincent, because executives of whichever kind would know that people have recourse to the law court to have the court pronounce on whether a given set of actions were proper,” said Thomas, who was last year appointed as a senator for the ruling Unity Labour Party.

Thomas said that Sam felt he was put to waste at NEMO, and took the matter to court.

Meanwhile, in a separate interview on Sunday, Sam told I-Witness News that the ruling “shows that God is greater than the system, God is greater than the Chief Personnel Officer, he is greater than the Attorney General and the whole team.

“… the Government keeps doing these things as if it is legal, and people keep accepting it.

“It is a victory for God and it is a victory for citizens whose rights have been violated in this manner, and they can see that there is a way, it is not right and there is a way that redress can be gotten,” Sam said.

Sam said that he will be seeking damages.

He further restated that he will publish a book about his experience since the transfer in 2010.

“All these matters will be addressed by the a publication in the fullness of time, Sam said.

Sam was a public servant for 33 years when he was dismissed.

He said that while his career has been disrupted and fractured, he is still willing to work for the State.

5 replies on “Court rules that Otto Sam’s transfer to NEMO was illegal”

  1. A strike against the ‘donkey’ at last. The proof will be when Otto try’s to get compensation. Lets see if he gets at least what the donkey got for defamation. This was a mans life completely ruined, destroyed, by spite and malice. Otto has had to suffer, the donkey only had something said against him that was untrue. The donkey continues to live and earn and travel far and wide. Otto has been destroyed and all the good things in life destroyed at the same time. If the donkey was worth $250k Otto must be worth 10 times that figure.

    One thing you can be sure of, the government will appeal, and the Judge will be given the same treatment as Otto Sam, she will be moved to NEMO, or even to Town Board as a road sweeper.

    WE MUST NOT FORGET, YOU CAN GO TO ANY COURT YOU LIKE, BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY YOU MUST COME HOME TO PAPA.

    We will see, and you people in the Diaspora are as guilty as the donkey.

    WAKE UP AND SMELL THE SULPHUR

  2. One down much more to go. More of us need to carry the Government to court.We were given several examples. Interestingly the Union didn’t see this as a case for them to take up. Sam damages or no damages the truth has come to light. victimization is ripe and juicy today than ever before it is better hidden through extended bureaucracy.

  3. Under the Ralph Gonsalves regime, one has to fight very hard for justice against the Government even when it is crystal clear that the Government is dead wrong. If you dare to oppose the comrade openly then you run the risk of being victimised, and eventually dismissed from the service.
    Just look at Anesia story; what was her crime that she should be dismissed? She spoke out against the government’s policies of injustice. What was Otto’s crime that he too should be dismissed? He too spoke out against those very policies.

    On the other side of the coin, we have Allan, a former PS at Agriculture; what was his crime? He sold items from his private company to the very same ministry at exorbitant prices in contravention of the Public Service Orders. What did the Gonsalves administration do? They transferred him to another gov’t agency where the pay is better. Yet another PS at that same ministry was found to have misappropriated gov’t funds and stores. She went away quietly into the sunset with pension in tact, when clearly she had committed a criminal offence. Then there is the former PS at Health. He spent thousand of dollars on KFC chicken and other goodies on the Cubans. He was simply moved to another Ministry as PS. No disciplinary action taken.

    Ralph Gonsalves and his cousin WILL HAVE THEIR DAY IN COURT. Time is longer than twine. Can someone tell me when is the next elections please.

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