Gemma Bain-Thomas takes Gov’t back in Court

The Law Chambers of Lex Fidelis has filed yet another application in the Supreme Court of Grenada, against the Government of Grenada, to determine what damages should be awarded to former Cabinet Secretary Gemma Bain-Thomas, who was removed from her post shortly after the return to office of the Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) administration in February 2013.

Bain-Thomas was appointed to the post of Cabinet Secretary by the 2008-2013 Congress government of then Prime Minister Tillman Thomas.

She was forced out of the post and relocated to the Office of the Executive Director to the Anti-Money Laundering Commission by Prime Minister Mitchell who levelled a number of disparaging remarks at her.
Bain-Thomas moved to the court and sued for breach of her constitutional rights.

After an extensive court battle, the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal headed by Justices of Appeal Lousie Ester Blenman, Mario Michael and Paul Webster ruled in her favor, in a judgment handed down on September 22, 2017.

Speaking in an interview with THE NEW TODAY last week Friday, legal counsel for the embattled civil servant and former Attorney General, Rohan Phillip said the application, which was filed with the Supreme Court Registry on December 28, 2017, follows government’s rejection of their compensation demands.

Although, the longstanding attorney withheld details as to exactly what was being requested from government, he said, the government ‘responded by saying they did not agree with the proposal.”

THE NEW TODAY understands that the figure is around the one-million E.C dollar mark.

In outlining his position, Attorney Phillip said: “Mrs. Bain-Thomas is no longer in the public service, she has been removed…damages were awarded (and) the order of the court was that if these damages were not agreed within 28 days from the court order, that they (damages) were to be accessed by the court.

“It means now that the court would have to hear an application to access what damages she is entitled to.

What we are saying is that Ms. Bain-Thomas has been remove (and) as far as our understanding of the law, if you removed an officer before their due date you must continue to pay them their salary until the lawful expiry or end of their contract and all benefits that goes with that.

“And secondly, we (are) saying that because of the breach of her constitutional right she must get what is referred to (as) vindicatory damages…Mrs. Bain-Thomas certainly was a senior officer in the service and the circumstances under which she was removed was egregious and because of that we think she should get significant damages.

In April 2015, High Court Judge, Justice Thomas Astaphan QC (Ag.) ruled that the removal of Bain-Thomas from the Office of Secretary to the Cabinet was unconstitutional and that her placement as Executive Director to the Anti-Money Laundering Commission was only on an assignment.

However, Attorney Phillip appealed the matter on the grounds that because Bain-Thomas was unconstitutionally removed, she could not have been properly placed on assignment and the Court of Appeal agreed and ruled that she should now be compensated by way of damages for the breach of her constitutional rights.

THE NEW TODAY contacted Solicitor General Dwight Horsford last week Friday, for a comment on the new development but he said that he has not been informed of the new development.

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