by Linda Straker
- Not a good fit with Ministry of Labour staff
- Did not fit in with Dickon Mitchell administration’s general outlook
- Fired with immediate effect as of 28 February, with one month’s pay in lieu of notice
Labour Minister Claudette Joseph has disclosed that the Public Service Commission (PSC) terminated a 2-year contract with Valerie Thomas, who was serving in the post as Labour Commissioner from 12 November 2022, because “she did not work out to be a good fit with the staff at the Ministry of Labour.”
“Upon review of the state of the relationship as requested by the Public Service Commission, it was decided by the Commission 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,” Senator Joseph disclosed during a news conference on Thursday, 2 March 2023. She did not explain what triggered the review.
Joseph, who is also the Attorney General, said that Thomas also did not fit in with the Dickon Mitchell administration’s general outlook as it seeks to take steps to enhance the labour climate in Grenada for workers, employers and specifically the members of staff at the labour ministry who are delivering on the services to our stakeholders. “We have ended the relationship, and we will go back to the drawing with a new labour commissioner to be announced in the not too distant future,” she said.
The Employment Act states that in the absence of the Labour Commissioner, the Deputy Commissioner performs the function. Sparkle Greenidge Courtney, who is currently serving in the post of Deputy Commissioner, will be performing the functions of Labour Commissioner.
Thomas, who served on the job for about 3 months and was in the middle of her probationary period, was fired with immediate effect as of 28 February. Based on her contract with the Government, she will receive one month’s pay in lieu of notice.
Thomas was the first woman to serve as Labour Commissioner in Grenada. A graduate of the Cipriani College of Labour and Cooperative Studies, she specialised in Labour Studies with an emphasis on Negotiations, Labour Administration, Labour Dispute Management and Tripartite Dialogue.
A news release issued by the Government Information Service (GIS) to announce her appointment said 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. Thomas also has experience in the Grenada Public Service, having worked for over 17 years in the fields of General Administration and Human Resource Development.