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Otto Sam, left, and his lawyer, Jomo Thomas, at Tuesday's press conference. (iWN photo)
Otto Sam, left, and his lawyer, Jomo Thomas, at Tuesday’s press conference. (iWN photo)
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Dismissed public servant Otto Sam says he would “absolutely not” go to “Papa” in an effort to get the Unity Labour Party administration to honour a court order to compensate him for wrongful transfer and subsequent dismissal from the public service.

A few years ago, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, said that persons could take matters to whatever courts they want, but when they are done, they have to come back to “Papa” — a reference to himself.

Sam goes back to court tomorrow (Thursday) for assessment of damages in relation to his May 2013 dismissal, even as the government is yet to honour the 2015 court order that he be compensated in relation to his 2010 transfer to the National Emergency Management Organisation.

Asked on Monday at a press conference called by his chambers if he is prepared to go to “Papa” in an effort to get the government to make the payment, Jomo Thomas, one of Sam’s lawyers, said:

“This is a country with the rule of law.”

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“If it is,” interjected Sherlan “Zita” Barnwell, a partner in the law firm and an opposition senator.

Thomas said that in a court where there is rule of law, the law trumps the likings or opinions of any individual.

“As counsel for Mr. Sam, I would be willing to speak to whoever has authority and holds the purse string. But certainly, I don’t think that once the court has pronounced in as decisive a manner in which the court pronounced in both the transfer case and the dismissal case, I don’t think anyone, either attorneys or Mr. Sam should have to speak with anyone except the attorney general in bringing this matter to an end.”

He said that in the early stages of the matter being before the court, he repeatedly said that the law does not support the manner in Sam was transferred.

“… because it was not a lateral transfer and that is what we said and the court found that not to be the case, that the transfer was not lateral and certainly the dismissal was just punitive and had nothing to do with any transgression which had been made.

“… I am a lawyer, I fight cases and I am always excited when I win and this was a decisive victory for Mr. Sam and the law in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Thomas said.

Meanwhile, speaking at the same press conference, Sam said he has “absolutely not” considered going to the proverbial Papa in an effort to have the state honour the court rulings.

“In fact, there were times when the state, in all of their game playing and their manoeuverings sought settlement and we have always agreed that the court must speak. Allow God to have his hand in this and let the court to speak clearly. And that is what has happened.”

He said that if the Attorney General’s Chambers is not complying with the order of the court, “the chairman of cabinet and or the minister of finance ought to instruct him … to obey the order of the court.”

The failure to honour the court agreement “undermines the integrity of the government and you simply cannot have any minister, whoever the minister is, let alone a public servant, to be flouting the law and the order of the court to be undermining the integrity of the rule of law,” Sam said.

“No government in a civilized society would want to do that. So it is instructive, at least, that the Minister of Finance and or the chairman of Cabinet should demand that the Attorney General make haste in fully addressing the matter. But, in terms of going to individuals, we don’t know how to do that,” Sam said.

12 replies on “Otto, Jomo not going to ‘Papa’ over court payment”

  1. Ralph Gonsalves constantly saying that everyone has to “come to papa” sounds to me like something to be heard from a dictator. Saint Vincent has a very sad situation right now when it come to how government operates. How did the people of Saint Vincent allow this to happen to them, approving of a system where they let one man control everything? Now he cries that people criticize his actions calling it “Ralph-bashing”. I think people need to “bash” him much much more. The government ignores laws at will and makes up laws on the spot when it does not want to comply with the existing laws. Turning the no-confidence vote into a “confidence” vote was one of the most shocking acts of dictatorship I have ever heard of.

    If this is not dictatorship than what is?

    1. Absolutely agreed! A hypocrite of the first order. Ralph is allowed to “bash” everyone but he starts crying when so many people criticize him. Well, maybe he should do a better job and he would not get as much criticism.
      Part of being a head of state in a “democracy” is being criticized. Godwin Friday is criticized far more than Ralph Gonsalves, because there are so many ULP-paid internet trolls. Godwin Friday takes it like a man. He is not crying like Ralph.
      If Ralph Can’t take the heat, he should get out of the kitchen. Godwin Friday seems far better suited for the job. Maybe that is why Ralph Gonsalves is so very scared of him!

  2. Jomo and his client should take Ralph to court. It has been said that the best way to bring down a tyrant is to force them to act like one where everyone can see it. How many times have we seen that Ralph Gonsalves has refused to comply with the law, or he makes up some weak excuse and is able to get out of it? See if that works for any of us!
    In that case (if it goes again to trial) Ralph may be forced to obey the law and pay all that money that comes from us tax-payers because of his stupidity in believing that he can walk all over anyone and everyone. It will be fascinating to see what excuse he comes up with this time. His disrespect for any laws that do not serve his purpose in so many cases is disrespect for the people and the country but anyone who has a working brain knows and expects this from our Prime Minister.

  3. When one man believes he is higher than the courts, higher than the laws, and nothing happens without his permission regardless of the laws or court decisions, that is when you know you are living under a dictatorship.

  4. Ralph does not believe he was appointed by God. He believes he IS God. Up to Vincentians to show him he is not!


  6. Well sad thing is if an election is called you’ll will vote him again. Nothing wrong with him every wrong with vincentians

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