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PSC terminates Labour Commissioner with immediate effect

Reginald Lord, the former acting Labour Commissioner until his retirement last year, expressed “sadness” over the news that the Ministry in which he worked for 32 years is without a Labour Commissioner.

The nation was informed on Thursday that four months into the two-year contractual arrangement, the Public Service Commission (PSC) has terminated the services of Valarie Thomas with immediate effect on Tuesday.

Lord, who served as a labour officer before acting commissioner for three months, told The Grenadian Voice that while he does not know the details of what transpired, he “respects the decision” once it was made in the interest of the nation,” adding that Ministry must be “run as a team.”

He said, the announcement “affected me badly, I feel sad that the Ministry is again in the news in a negative light.”

Nonetheless, Lord stressed that “it’s time an injection is made into the Ministry because it’s so important but often overlooked,” expressing hope that soon the issue is resolved.

Speaking to Thomas’ termination during the media briefing, Senator Hon Claudette Joseph, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Labour and Consumer Affairs said, “these things happen in the world of business, she is well qualified but she did not work out to be a good fit with the staff of the Ministry of the Labour.”

She explained that “we have been working for the last four months, but upon review of the state of the relationship as requested by the Public Service Commission (PSC), it was decided by the PSC and the Ministry that it will be best for us to go back to the drawing board in our search for a Labour Commissioner that fits with the personnel and with our general outlook as we take steps to enhance the labour climate in Grenada for workers and employers and members  of staff who are delivering services to our stakeholders.”

So, “we have ended the relationship in accordance with the terms of the contract…with immediate effect from Tuesday afternoon” to re-start the search for a new Labour Commissioner “to be announced in the not too distant future.” The cost to the State is one month’s pay, the Senator said.

Hon Joseph shared that according to the Employment Act, in the absence of a Labour Commissioner, the deputy commissioner performs the function. In January, Sparkle Grenade-Courtney was appointed to the post of deputy.

According to the Minister, the post was advertised for over one month, six applicants were interviewed by a committee and Thomas was offered the position.

In announcing the appointment of Grenada’s first female labour commissioner last November, Senator Joseph said then that she “brings a rich mix of labour administration and industrial relations experience and expertise to the position. We are confident that she will execute her duties to the highest standard, and we look forward to her contributions in advancing the Department of Labour and its work programme, and the wider transformative agenda of Government.”  

As shared in an interview with The Grenadian Voice, Thomas intended to advocate for the implementation of a Permanent Arbitration Tribunal, citing the need for such resolution mechanism to help employers and employees get redress. She also was assessing the department with a promise to conduct restructuring.

Thomas, who hails from Grand Bras in St Andrew, is a graduate of the Cipriani College of Labour and Cooperative Studies and specialised in Labour Studies with an emphasis in Negotiations, Labour Administration, Labour Dispute Management and Tripartite Dialogue. Her professional career includes employment with one of the largest trade unions in Trinidad and Tobago and “highlights a sterling record of success before the Industrial Courts.”

Prior to moving to T&T, Thomas worked for over 17 years in the fields of General Administration and Human Resource Development in the Grenada public service.

Cyrus Griffith served as Labour Commissioner for 25 years, including four years into his retirement until August of 2022.

PSC terminates Labour Commissioner with immediate effect

Reginald Lord, the former acting Labour Commissioner until his retirement last year, expressed “sadness” over the news that the Ministry in which he worked for 32 years is without a Labour Commissioner.

The nation was informed on Thursday that four months into the two-year contractual arrangement, the Public Service Commission (PSC) has terminated the services of Valarie Thomas with immediate effect on Tuesday.

Lord, who served as a labour officer before acting commissioner for three months, told The Grenadian Voice that while he does not know the details of what transpired, he “respects the decision” once it was made in the interest of the nation,” adding that Ministry must be “run as a team.”

He said, the announcement “affected me badly, I feel sad that the Ministry is again in the news in a negative light.”

Nonetheless, Lord stressed that “it’s time an injection is made into the Ministry because it’s so important but often overlooked,” expressing hope that soon the issue is resolved.

Speaking to Thomas’ termination during the media briefing, Senator Hon Claudette Joseph, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Labour and Consumer Affairs said, “these things happen in the world of business, she is well qualified but she did not work out to be a good fit with the staff of the Ministry of the Labour.”

She explained that “we have been working for the last four months, but upon review of the state of the relationship as requested by the Public Service Commission (PSC), it was decided by the PSC and the Ministry that it will be best for us to go back to the drawing board in our search for a Labour Commissioner that fits with the personnel and with our general outlook as we take steps to enhance the labour climate in Grenada for workers and employers and members  of staff who are delivering services to our stakeholders.”

So, “we have ended the relationship in accordance with the terms of the contract…with immediate effect from Tuesday afternoon” to re-start the search for a new Labour Commissioner “to be announced in the not too distant future.” The cost to the State is one month’s pay, the Senator said.

Hon Joseph shared that according to the Employment Act, in the absence of a Labour Commissioner, the deputy commissioner performs the function. In January, Sparkle Grenade-Courtney was appointed to the post of deputy.

According to the Minister, the post was advertised for over one month, six applicants were interviewed by a committee and Thomas was offered the position.

In announcing the appointment of Grenada’s first female labour commissioner last November, Senator Joseph said then that she “brings a rich mix of labour administration and industrial relations experience and expertise to the position. We are confident that she will execute her duties to the highest standard, and we look forward to her contributions in advancing the Department of Labour and its work programme, and the wider transformative agenda of Government.”  

As shared in an interview with The Grenadian Voice, Thomas intended to advocate for the implementation of a Permanent Arbitration Tribunal, citing the need for such resolution mechanism to help employers and employees get redress. She also was assessing the department with a promise to conduct restructuring.

Thomas, who hails from Grand Bras in St Andrew, is a graduate of the Cipriani College of Labour and Cooperative Studies and specialised in Labour Studies with an emphasis in Negotiations, Labour Administration, Labour Dispute Management and Tripartite Dialogue. Her professional career includes employment with one of the largest trade unions in Trinidad and Tobago and “highlights a sterling record of success before the Industrial Courts.”

Prior to moving to T&T, Thomas worked for over 17 years in the fields of General Administration and Human Resource Development in the Grenada public service.

Cyrus Griffith served as Labour Commissioner for 25 years, including four years into his retirement until August of 2022.

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