(Excerpts of Mrs. Kay Bacchus Baptiste’s presentation on Nice Radio on the vaccine Mandate case)
I would like to congratulate the civil servants, teachers, police, nurses and all those persons who persevered through thick and thin for almost two years without a job because of the wicked action of this government. I congratulate the lawyers who fought the battle and won a convincing and decisive victory against the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines who did such a dastardly act as regards the teachers.
Now, let us look at the government’s decision that they are going to appeal this order of the court. First of all, it signals the fact that the Gonsalves government does not respect the court except the court rules in their favour. However, they have had very little victory these days against any action brought by the PSU in relation to citizens and their rights. They lost the Otto Sam case dismally. The Court of Appeal really pronounced against them using the constitution against people in the teachers’ case; and now, this one, this big and decisive victory.
So, to my mind, no one is saying that the government does not have a right to appeal. What we are saying is that in this case where there is such a decisive victory to use the people’s money to appeal against their victory to my mind is immoral and should not be done.
But, let us give them that. Let us say that as Gonsalves has said that the reason for this appeal is to ensure that they know what to do in the future. That if there were to be another pandemic how should they act. If whether what they did was correct, let us give them that. The question is, how could applying for a stay of execution assist them in that? What people need to understand very clearly is the law as regards when you get a judgement and when you get a stay of execution.
The first cardinal principle of the law is that a litigant who wins must get the fruits of their labour. Let me repeat that, the law is, a party who wins a judgement must get the fruits of their labour. It means that all the claimants in this action against the government are to be immediately re-employed or reinstated with all their benefits and get the damages that the court said that they should get. That is the law. This nonsense talk about the Attorney General or persons have to be informed of the judgement, and the Attorney General needs to know whether the appeal has been done and a stay of execution is a ridiculous talk. The law is, until you apply and get a stay of execution you must apply the law according to the judgement.
How is a stay of execution granted? The law on that is also very clear; not only you first have to show a reasonable prospect of success in that the appeal would have some merit. I don’t know how the government can say how the appeal has merit without first examining the judgement. But, that to me is a lesser point than the other two points
In order to get a stay of execution, you must satisfy the court: (1) That if you don’t get a stay of execution, your appeal would be rendered nugatory, meaning that there is no sense of appealing. (2) That without a stay of execution, the government would be ruined that the situation would be so bad that it would ruin them.
Those two limbs; I am telling you, this government cannot prove. They are saying that the reason for appealing is that if in the future there is to be another pandemic they want to know what they did was right. Now, how could a stay of execution damage that? They would still have that issue whether the execution is stayed or not. So, then they should not be granted a stay on that ground.
Secondly, the question as to whether or not they would be ruined. You are telling me, the government is saying, that if they re-employ the teachers, they would be ruined. They cannot say that. It is the people’s money that they are using to pay them and the people’s money to appeal. I am saying that they cannot, even if they go for a stay of execution and should not base upon the law get a stay of execution in this case because they would not be able to pass the threshold.
Now, knowing that, it is absolutely wrong for any Commissioner of Police, heads of Departments or Ministry of Education to tell the people that they are waiting because there is an appeal and they are waiting on a stay that is not the law. The law is, as soon as that judgement is given by the court; it is the law and it must be applied. What it means therefore that every day that they do not employ these people, sending them on the run-around, the government would be in contempt of court. If they do not enforce the judgement, they are acting in contempt of court.
If you are in contempt of court, how are you going to come to a court and say well give me a stay of execution in this matter. The law is, if you are in contempt, you have to purge your contempt before you can ask the court to do anything.
So, to me what they are doing is putting a noose around their neck by refusing to re-employ the teachers etc. or giving them the run-around; they are repeating the contempt every day. And, making it even more difficult to overcome the hurdles that they must overcome in order to get a stay of execution.