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Sam’s dismissal has nothing to do with me – PM Gonsalves

Sam’s dismissal has nothing to do with me – PM Gonsalves

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Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves says the dismissal of former headteacher Otto Sam has nothing to do with him.{{more}}

Gonsalves, speaking in the House of Assembly yesterday, said he wanted to put it on the record that he had “absolutely nothing” to do with the complaint made to the Public Service Commission about Sam.

“I did not set up a tribunal; I do not have that authority,” the prime minister said.

“The tribunal, from what I have been advised, was a two to one decision – two finding him guilty of misconduct one didn’t,” he said.

The prime minister explained that there had been numerous cases, including instances during the New Democratic Party’s (NDP) administration, when people were dismissed from the government. In some instances, the individuals had been re-instated while in others, the decision was upheld, he said.

“I have been involved in several of these,” Gonsalves, who is a lawyer by profession, said.

“You think where Otto Sam is, matters me? I am in the government, I am prime minister — one government worker could hamper me? An old, ancient warrior like me?

“I not concerned about that and that is the gospel truth,” the prime minister continued.

He said, included in Sam’s letter of dismissal, would have been his right to appeal the decision.

“Those are the facts – why everything that happen is Ralph? Why everything is Ralph?”

The prime minister said if the permanent secretary thinks a matter should be complained to the Public Service Commission, they do so formally, after which the matter is considered.

Gonsalves said a law enacted in the 1970s by the Milton Cato administration prohibited public servants from speaking or writing negative things against the government.

That law was repealed by the current Unity Labour Party (ULP) administration in 2005.

“But there are some public servants who believe that there are no regulations, but there are regulations which preceded the law,” the prime minister said.

“And they are still in place to regulate how a public servant was to conduct his or herself,” Gonsalves continued.

He said these regulations arise out of centuries of experience from around the world, and that every employee has an obligation to his or her employer.

Sam was fired from the public service, following the findings of a tribunal set up by the Public Service Commission.

The tribunal was set up to look into complaints made by the permanent secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Godfred Pompey.

The majority of members of the tribunal found Sam guilty of the charges of misconduct which were laid against him in August 2012.

As a result, the Public Service Commission, on May 15, 2013, relieved Sam, with immediate effect, of his post as headteacher at the South Rivers Methodist School and his assignment at NEMO.(DD)

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